New York Jets: What could a Robby Anderson extension look like?
By Justin Fried
The New York Jets should absolutely look into extending wide receiver Robby Anderson in the offseason. But what could a possible extension look like?
The New York Jets haven’t had much to remain optimistic about on offense, but the recent resurgence of wide receiver Robby Anderson has certainly been encouraging.
And with his contract set to expire in the offseason, Anderson is in-line for an extension.
The former undrafted free agent got off to a slow start this season but the offense he was in certainly wasn’t doing him any favors. From Luke Falk starting at quarterback to a porous offensive line, Anderson wasn’t given the opportunity to flourish.
Even when Sam Darnold returned from his absence, it seemed as though the second-year signal-caller was more comfortable throwing to the likes of Jamison Crowder and Ryan Griffin than his speedy deep threat.
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Perhaps some of this was scheming, perhaps it was a mere issue of chemistry. In reality, it’s likely a combination of the two. But over the last three weeks, those issues have seemingly disappeared.
Anderson has hauled in 18 grabs for 303 yards and two touchdowns over his last three games as he has become Darnold’s favorite target in the passing game once again.
This increased production has come at the perfect time too with Anderson set to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career in just a few months. The Jets will have a decision to make regarding how committed they are to Anderson in the long run.
But what could a possible extension for the flashy wideout look like? Before we determine his value on the open market, let’s get one thing straight first.
The Jets should absolutely re-sign Anderson in the offseason. The 26-year-old has developed quite significantly since he first entered the league back in 2016. No longer is he a one-trick-pony deep threat — Anderson has much more to his game than most realize.
And he’s a rock-solid No. 2 receiver.
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Anderson may never be the true No. 1 receiver many Jets fans hoped he would one day become, but that shouldn’t be used as an excuse to let him walk. He’s an excellent second starting wideout and a dangerous downfield threat anytime he’s on the field.
Re-signing him remains a must. But what might it cost the Jets?
Gauging Anderson’s free-agent value is actually easier than many prospective free agents in that we have a near-perfect comparison in a player who just recently a new deal in the offseason.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams compares very favorably to Anderson in that they both have very similar skill sets, have nearly identical production, and are just about the same age.
In fact, Anderson has better production than Williams had through the first four seasons of his career before he received his contract. Here is a comparison of both players’ stats through the first four years of their career — note that Anderson still has three games to play in 2019.
Those are strikingly similar figures which should indicate that Anderson should expect around the same, if not slightly more than what Williams received this past offseason. The Raiders poached Williams from the Los Angeles Chargers with a four-year, $44 million contract.
That places Williams as the 18th highest-paid receiver in the NFL by average annual value sandwiched between former teammate Keenan Allen and Larry Fitzgerald.
Spotrac currently places Anderson’s market value at around four years, $47 million for an average annual salary of $11.77 million. That would place Anderson right above Allen but below the likes of Alshon Jeffery and T.Y. Hilton.
When comparing him to those names it seems like an overpay. But you must take into account that those players will absolutely earn larger contracts when their deals are up.
Inflation is alive and well in the world of professional sports.
Four years, $47 million seems to be the going rate for a player of Anderson’s caliber with his skill set and it seems reasonable that the Jets make a similar offer in the offseason.
Rather than create yet another hole by getting rid of one of their only offensive playmakers, the Jets must hand Robby Anderson a new deal and bring him back to East Rutherford next season.