The New York Jets made a rather unsurprising decision on Monday in declining to pick up the fifth-year option on cornerback Dee Milliner's rookie contract.
ESPN.com's Rich Cimini reported the news of the Jets' transaction, which would have had them on the hook for an $11.9 million salary in 2017 for a player who's yet to play to that price tag in his young NFL career.
Milliner was the ninth overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft but has been a bust. After making 12 starts in 13 games with 17 passes defensed, 56 combined tackles and three interceptions as a rookie, the 24-year-old has appeared in only eight games over the past two seasons.
Based on his results to date, though, Milliner could already be considered an excessive cost to New York, as he's due to count $4.028 million against the cap this year, per Spotrac.
Even if Milliner doesn't perform to his draft billing once again this coming season, the Jets should feel good about where their defense is overall, particularly in the secondary.
Darrelle Revis is still one of the game's premier cover corners. Despite seeing limited snaps in 2015, Marcus Williams logged six interceptions and should thus see his role increase. Also part of the mix is Buster Skrine, a speedy (4.48-second 40-yard dash), scrappy corner who can play outside and in the slot. The Jets also drafted Juston Burris in the fourth round of this year's draft.
"We're excited about bringing Juston into the organization," general manager Mike Maccagnan said, per Randy Lange of NewYorkJets.com. "He's a good prospect who fits what we do in terms of style of play, and he also has a little bit of safety in his background early in his career, but we're going to start him out at corner."
The Jets still had until the beginning of the 2017 league year before Milliner's money became fully guaranteed, so their decision to opt out of the last year of his contract doesn't bode well for his future with the organization.
Injuries have played a big part in why Milliner hasn't met expectations, though. If he manages to carve out a strong 2016 campaign in what's suddenly become a contract year, he can still position himself for a decent payday—whether it be in New York or elsewhere.