Make no mistake about it, the New York Jets have something special in wide receiver Jermaine Kearse as his true value on offense will only get bigger over time.
After releasing both Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall in the offseason and then losing Quincy Enunwa to a devastating neck injury in camp, the New York Jets were in a rough place. They were set to enter the regular season with one of the youngest receiving corps in recent memory.
Knowing that he needed to add some type of veteran presence to the position, general manager Mike Maccagnan struck a deal with Seattle that sent Sheldon Richardson to the Seahawks in exchange for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and the teams 2018 second round draft pick.
Not to be confused with any of the league’s elite playmakers, Kearse has been a starter for a playoff team in Seattle since 2014 and has flashed big play potential over the years. Last season, the sixth year pro caught 41 passes for 510 yards and one touchdown.
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Right away that’s an immediate upgrade over what the Jets had before adding Kearse to their roster, and as expected the former Seahawk was a vocal point of the offense in the teams Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Kearse caught seven catches for 59 yards and appeared to develop a nice rapport with quarterback Josh McCown. Perhaps even more valuable will be the veteran presence and voice that Kearse brings to not only the receivers but the locker room as a whole.
Gang Green lost nearly all of its veteran leadership it had a year ago in David Harris, Nick Mangold, and the aforementioned Decker. It’s important that a young team looking to build for the future has a guy they can turn to when times get tough and the Jets are hoping Kearse can be that mentor to their younger playmakers.
Hopefully, once Kearse gets more adjusted to the offense and comfortable with the playbook, he can stretch the field and allow the running game to breathe a little. Defenses are currently stacking the box against the Jets because with no proven playmakers on the outside, teams can match up their corners one and one.
It puts a huge focus on taking away the Jets ground attack which makes them one dimensional and too predictable. If Kearse can do more than just run slants over the middle like he did in Week 1, the Jets may be able to find some consistency on offense in the coming weeks.
Having a solid veteran threat like Kearse on the outside should also help youngsters Robby Anderson and ArDarius Stewart get in some favorable matchups where they can do some damage. With his raw speed, Anderson is a legit deep threat and Stewart showed signs of being a solid possession receiver in the preseason. Kearse not only fills a need at a position where the Jets are starving for talent but he also helps in many other ways and could soon become one of the most integral parts of their roster.