New York Jets: Top three free agent wide receiver targets
By Justin Fried
With free agency set to begin in just under a month, the New York Jets will have a lot of roster holes to fill. Here’s a look at three wide receivers the team could target.
The New York Jets are expected to be one of the most active players in free agency this offseason. With nearly $100 million in cap space and plenty of roster spots to fill out, the Jets will likely turn to free agency to make some major offseason additions.
While the team will likely look to address important positions such as offensive line and edge rusher with the open market, other positions will likely be just as coveted by Gang Green. One of those positions is wide receiver.
The Jets have a solid duo with Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa but their lack of depth was exposed last season went the pair each went down with injuries for a portion of the season.
Enunwa signed a four-year, $36 million extension in December to remain with the team but Anderson will be a restricted free agent. Even assuming Anderson returns, the Jets will lack a third receiver with Jermaine Kearse unlikely to be brought back.
The offseason will be crucial for the Jets as the team looks to build a solid supporting cast around quarterback Sam Darnold. That all begins with the free agency period.
3. Tyrell Williams
Tyrell Williams is set to hit the open market after four seasons with the Los Angeles Chargers and he’s likely to cash in on a decent-sized payday. Williams is currently projected by Spotrac to make upwards to almost $10 million a year which would make him the 23rd highest paid receiver in the NFL.
The former undrafted free agent has put together three solid seasons in a row with his best coming back in 2016 when the Chargers lost Keenan Allen for the season. Williams hauled in 69 receptions for 1,053 yards and seven touchdowns when given the chance to be a feature piece of the offense.
While his numbers have dropped slightly, as has his usage, he still remains a very effective piece on offense. Williams is a premier deep threat using his 4.43 40-yard dash speed to burn past opposing cornerbacks at ease.
The Western Oregon product would give the Jets another boundary receiver to pair with Anderson and Enunwa giving the team a very capable trio of targets. At the same time, Williams skillset does mirror Anderson’s in many ways so the worry would be that they would fight for and fill the same role.
Still, you can never have too many downfield threats in today’s NFL.
Next: 2. Adam Humphries
2. Adam Humphries
Adam Humphries fits more what the Jets are looking for in a receiver at the moment. Rather than doubling up on outside field stretchers, the Jets could use a true slot receiver, something the roster lacks right now.
Humphries is an exceptional slot receiver with great YAC ability to make plays happen after the catch. He’s shifty and runs solid routes making him a perfect fit for new head coach Adam Gase‘s offensive scheme.
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The soon-to-be former Tampa Bay Buccaneer put up a career year in 2018 as a part of the Bucs high-powered offense. Humphries secured 76 receptions for 816 yards and five touchdowns marking career-highs in each category.
The addition of Humphries would allow Enunwa to play his more natural position on the outside which is where he excelled in 2016. Humphries would be an ideal addition to Gase’s scheme which focuses heavily on pre-snap movement, short passes, and receivers with YAC ability.
At just 26-years-old, Humphries will likely demand similar if not slightly more money than Williams. But filling a position of need here is a must and the Jets shouldn’t be afraid to overspend a bit in free agency to help out their young quarterback.
Next: 1. Golden Tate
1. Golden Tate
Much like the aforementioned Humphries, Golden Tate would fill a similar role as an ideal slot receiver in Gase’s offense. But unlike Humphries, Tate has a trio of 1,000-yard seasons under his belt giving him the edge when it comes to past production.
The Notre Dame product is an elite YAC receiver having led all receivers in forced missed tackles every season but one from 2013-2017. Tate ranked top-six in yards after catch in 2016 and 2017 before dipping a bit to 20th in 2018.
While Tate isn’t the most proficient receiver when working towards the sidelines, something Darnold excelled at in 2018, he gives the Jets a true slot receiver to go over the middle and make contested grabs.
Similar to Humphries, Tate was involved in a lot of pre-snap movement and screens during his tenures in Philadelphia and Detroit. This fits perfectly with Gase’s offensive scheme that would work to maximize Tate’s strengths.
Tate will be 31-years-old at the start of the 2019 season which should definitely be a cause for concern. But given his proven track record and ideal fit in Gase’s system, Tate would make an appealing free agent target for the Jets come the start of free agency.