New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee will become an unrestricted free agent following the 2019 season after the team on Friday declined to exercise the fifth-year option on his contract, a league source told ESPN. Lee, the Jets' first-round pick (20th overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft, reportedly has lost his starting job to C.J. Mosley, who played five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens before signing a five-year, $85 million deal with New York.
The projected starters at inside linebacker for 2019 are Mosley and returning starter Avery Williamson. And according to sources at ESPN, the Jets remain open to a trade for Lee, but if he stays, will count $3.25 million against this year's cap and has a $1.8 million base salary. In 12 games, all starts, last season, Lee recorded three interceptions, the first of his career, including one for a touchdown. The former Ohio State linebacker, beginning his fourth season with the Jets, also had 74 tackles.
He was dealt a four-game suspension at the end of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy, so his 2019 salary no longer is guaranteed.
(With inputs from agencies.)