New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner has not only established himself as one of the better players in the league, but also one of the most outspoken heading into his third season. The two-time first-team All-Pro honoree even acted as the Jets' unofficial general manager in the lead-up to the 2024 draft, providing fans with some comedy.

Gardner made one of his most eyebrow-raising statements yet during OTAs Tuesday, via Brandyn Pokrass of Jets X Factor.

“I would like to call myself one of the best (cornerbacks) in the game, if not the best,” Gardner said. “I’m always open to competing and want to challenge myself and others. But ultimately, I want to do whatever it takes for the team to win.”

Was this an empty boast, or does Gardner truly have the chops to take the crown?

The Jets may have struck gold with Gardner

New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner (1) warms up before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
© Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Gardner does have the numbers to back up his braggadocio. The Cincinnati alum was ranked as the best cornerback in the league in each of the past two seasons, via John Kosko of Pro Football Focus (PFF).

“These rankings will combine PFF coverage grades with our Successful Coverage Over Expected (SCOE) data, which looks at how well each coverage defender performed on non-targeted coverage snaps, as we grade every coverage defender’s ability to prevent separation whether they are targeted on the play or not,” Kosko explained.

Gardner's 90.8 coverage grade was the second-highest, while his SCOE ranked first. One could argue that the SCOE is more important, as that's what prevents the quarterback from throwing in the cornerback's direction in the first place.

While PFF's word isn't law, it's one of the leading statistical outlets in the industry. One would be hard-pressed to find any metric that doesn't place the former Defensive Rookie of the Year within the top three corners at least.

Gardner has similarly high thoughts of the Jets as a whole. The two-time Pro Bowler has Super Bowl-level expectations for the squad this year, via SNY.

“I feel like we can win a championship, you know, a Super Bowl,” Gardner said. “We got the guys, we got the coaches. We got everything we need. The training staff, everything that it takes for us to get where we want to get to, but like I always say, we can't get too high. Can't get too low, keep the main thing the main thing, I know y'all probably haven't heard that…Just always staying in the moment, not looking too far ahead…At the snap of a finger, it can all be gone.”

Gardner was probably referring to all-time great quarterback Aaron Rodgers' Achilles injury he suffered on the fourth play of the season last year. The minute that the future Hall-of-Famer hit the turf, New York's championship chances evaporated.

However, the beauty of sports is that there's always next year. Rodgers is now back to normal at OTAs, and as long as he's healthy, there's no limit to the Jets' potential this season.