NEW YORK (AP) — Call it a chip. Maybe supreme confidence. Or unshakeable swagger.
All D.J. Reed knows is when he steps on the football field, there's no doubt as to how valuable he is. That's why the New York Jets' new cornerback was a bit offended when the Seahawks came to him with their offer to keep him in Seattle.
“In my opinion and my agent's opinion, it was disrespectful for my level of play and the player that I am,” Reed said during a Zoom call Thursday. "I'm not going to get into specifics because I don't want to bash anybody or do anything like that, but I definitely know my worth and I feel like my worth should’ve been more.
“That's just how I feel about myself. But I'm grateful to be a Jet.”
Reed, who added he wanted to stay in Seattle and appreciated his time there, officially signed with the Jets on Thursday, two days after agreeing to a deal that a person with direct knowledge of the contract told The Associated Press was for three years and worth $33 million. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team doesn't announce terms of contracts.
Reed comes to New York after being a fifth-round draft pick by San Francisco out of Kansas State in 2018. He's reunited with Jets coach Robert Saleh, who was his defensive coordinator with the 49ers his first two NFL seasons. Reed was claimed off waivers by Seattle before the 2020 season and blossomed into an outstanding player.
The 25-year-old cornerback still feels a bit underappreciated — citing his 5-foot-9 height as something his detractors point out — but is intent on immediately being the Jets' top cornerback and drawing the toughest assignments.
“Oh, yeah, without a question, I feel like I’m a CB1,” Reed said. “I think it's obvious, but when people look at my height, they say, ‘Oh, he’s a good CB2.’ But no, if you watch my tape from last year and the year before that, it’s CB1. Like, my stats compare to the All-Pros. ... My stats are right there with those guys.”
And he's right, based on the analytics. Pro Football Focus ranked him eighth among all NFL cornerbacks last season. Reed also was ranked third by PFF in catches allowed and passer rating allowed among cornerbacks who played at least 80% of their team's coverage snaps.
His familiarity with the scheme the Jets are running under Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich make him an ideal addition. It's also similar to the scheme in which he played in Seattle.
"It's going to be like a hand fitting in the glove, I think," Reed said.
He'll also allow youngsters Bryce Hall and Brandin Echols, both starters last season, to continue to develop without the pressure of being the No. 1 cornerback.
“I'm going to take another step this year, but I'm going to call myself a young veteran,” Reed said. “I play smart because I know the game and I communicate and I want to learn. I'm still learning, but on top of that, I'm only 25 years old. So I'm still young.”
And then there's his confidence, which was on full display during his 10-minute introductory video chat with reporters.
“Honestly, man, I knew I was gifted, even in high school,” Reed said. "Even when I had no offers, I knew I was special. I knew God created me as His masterpiece.
“I knew my work ethic was unmatched. I knew God blessed me with certain traits I have that translate great to football. To me, I've always been confident. My story, I'm still writing it.”
That belief in himself, Reed believes, has been a major factor in him getting to this point in his playing career.
“If you're at corner and you're not confident, you're going to get beat,” he said. “Even if you are confident, you can still get beat. So having confidence and really believing in yourself just gives you a chance.”
With plenty of success. And now, a big-time payday.
NOTES: TE C.J. Uzomah, who signed a three-year, $24 million deal with New York, said the knee he injured during the AFC championship game with Cincinnati is fine. He smiled broadly when asked what he brings to the Jets. “They're going to get someone who’s one of the best damn tight ends in the league," he said. “That’s what they’re getting.” ... S Jordan Whitehead said he didn’t receive an offer from Tampa Bay, with whom he played his first four seasons. “Business is business. No hard feelings over there. Great organization, great guys, great players," said Whitehead, who signed a two-year deal worth up to $14.5 million with the Jets. "I’m excited for this journey.”
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