Jets defensive end Jermaine Johnson signed his rookie contract on Monday.
Johnson inked a four-year, $13.1 million fully guaranteed contract with a fifth-year team option. He became the second of the Jets’ three first-round picks to sign their rookie deal.Cornerback Sauce Gardner, the No. 4 pick, was the first to sign. Receiver Garrett Wilson, who the Jets took with the No. 10 selection, is still unsigned.
Johnson was the No. 26 pick out of Florida State. The Jets traded back into the first round to take Johnson, who they ranked as the eighth-best player in the draft. They sent the Tennessee picks 35, 69 and 163 in exchange for picks 26 and 101.
The 6-foot-4, 254-pound Johnson started out playing for Independence Community College in Kansas and was featured on the Netflix series "Last Chance U." After spending two years at Georgia, Johnson transferred to Florida State. He had 12 sacks, 18.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.
“He's got great athleticism and violence to his game,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “He's very smart. He's probably the most pro ready of all the pass rushers this year in terms of having a repertoire to his game and something we can add to.
“Really a perfect fit for what we do defensively with our wide-nine system, putting him on an edge, getting him firing off the ball and attacking. Really going to be a great complement to the group that we already have."
Johnson joins a defensive front that is expected to be the Jets’ strongest area.
Edge rusher Carl Lawson is returning from a ruptured Achilles that kept him out all of last season. Returning on the line are Quinnen Williams, John Franklin-Myers, Bryce Huff, Sheldon Rankins and Nathan Shepherd.
The Jets also signed Solomon Thomas, Jacob Martin, and re-signed Vinny Curry, who missed last year with a rare blood disorder that required his spleen to be removed. The Jets also drafted Micheal Clemons, another pass rusher who started at a junior college.
Posthumous honor for Knapp
Greg Knapp, the Jets late assistant coach, was one of two recipients of the lifetime achievement award as voted by the Professional Football Writers of America.
Knapp and Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier were the winners of the 2022 Paul "Dr. Z" Zimmerman Award.
Robert Saleh hired Knapp last year to be the Jets' passing game coordinator. It would have been Knapp’s 26th year coaching in the NFL. Knapp was killed following a bicycle accident last July. He was 58.
Before joining the Jets, Knapp worked with the 49ers, Falcons, Raiders, Seahawks, Texans and Broncos. He worked as a quarterbacks coach for 12 seasons and an offensive coordinator for 10.
Frazier is in his 24th season and sixth with Buffalo. He also worked for the Eagles, Bengals, Colts, Buccaneers and Ravens. Frazier was 21-32-1 in 3 ½ seasons as the Vikings head coach