The NY Jets signed Breshad Perriman to fill Robby Anderson’s role. But can he match his production?
The Jets went into the offseason with a decision to make on a number of key internal free agents. And arguably the most heavily debated player was wide receiver Robby Anderson.
Anderson had spent the past four seasons with the team slowly developing into one of the more dangerous deep threats in the NFL. But on top of that, his growth over the last three seasons had been impressive and he was no longer the one-trick pony he once was.
Still, it was unclear if general manager Joe Douglas felt he was worth the contract he would be demanding in the offseason. Ultimately, Anderson would sign with the Carolina Panthers to a meager two-year, $20 million contract ending his tenure with the Jets.
Douglas acted quickly, however, agreeing to a deal with the aforementioned Perriman mere hours after Anderson’s deal was announced. In doing so, the Jets made it clear what Perriman’s role with the Jets would be.
He’s going to be Robby Anderson’s replacement. But the question is, can he live up to expectations?
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Can Breshad Perriman live up to expectations with the NY Jets?
Say what you want about Anderson, but the former undrafted free agent was arguably the Jets’ most talented and productive receiver over the last two seasons.
An explosive deep threat, Anderson has the ability to take the top off defenses. But he developed into a quality all-around receiver by the end of the 2019 season working well on comebacks and any routes working the boundary.
He has his limitations though. He’s never going to be a contested-catch receiver. And he doesn’t work well going over the middle of the field. But Anderson is a very solid No. 2 wideout and well worth the contract he received from Carolina.
Perriman, on the other hand, is a bit more of an unproven commodity.
The former first-round pick struggled with injuries and drops early in his career and was ousted from Baltimore after just two disappointing seasons. And after a brief stint with Cleveland, he signed on with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a last-ditch effort to save his career.
The early portion of the season went about as expected with limited involvement in the offense, but an untimely Mike Evans injury opened the door for a larger role.
Perriman would record 25 of his 36 catches and 506 of his 645 yards over the final five weeks of the season. In total, between 70 and 80 percent of his production came when he was asked to fill Evans’ role.
That’s encouraging seeing as though he’ll be asked to be a starting wideout in the Jets offense. That said, the Buccaneers’ high-powered passing attack is very different from Adam Gase’s West Coast system.
Still, Perriman will be given a golden opportunity to carry over the momentum he built from last season and take advantage of arguably the biggest opportunity of his career.
But matching Anderson’s production might prove challenging.
Perriman has many of the same weaknesses that Anderson does. He doesn’t work well going over the middle of the field and has been inconsistent with creating separation.
On top of that, Anderson has shown to have stronger hands and a more diversified route tree in recent years. That doesn’t mean that Perriman, who’s still only 26-years-old, can’t continue to improve upon both of those things.
But there’s little argument to support that he’s a better player than Anderson.
Expecting Perriman to match Anderson’s production is likely setting the bar too high. But he doesn’t necessarily need to.
As long as Perriman could fill Anderson’s role in the offense — a deep threat that keeps the defense on its toes at all times — then he should find success with the Jets.
It’s important to temper optimism with a player who has just five games of production throughout his four-year career. But at the same time, at least the Jets managed to retain the explosive element of their offense even despite losing Anderson.
That alone should make Perriman a valuable commodity in 2020.