Johnson's $11 million contract for 2020 becomes fully guaranteed March 20, but the team doesn't plan to let that happen.
The 30-year-old initially signed a five-year, $72.5 million deal with the Jets in 2018, although he's only played 17 games in his first two years combined.
Johnson has also disappointed when on the field, totaling just one interception and two passes defended in 2019.
The Jets likely would have already released him, but they are hoping the new collective bargaining agreement gets approved ahead of the new league year.
As Johnson's contract stands, releasing him would create $12 million in dead-cap space for 2020 while only clearing $3 million, per Spotrac. As Mehta noted, the team could usually designate him a post-June 1 cut and split the dead cap across two seasons, keeping more flexibility in 2020.
However, this process is not allowed in the final year of a CBA, which would include the upcoming season if a new CBA is not ratified.
Either way, it's clear Johnson will be headed to free agency this offseason as the Jets seek an upgrade at cornerback.
According to Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv, New York is already eyeing potential high-priced free agents like Byron Jones and James Bradberry, as well as Chris Harris Jr. Gang Green are currently projected to have $56.1 million in cap space.