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NY Jets: 3 players the team can’t afford to lose to injury

NY Jets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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NY Jets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The NY Jets can’t afford to lose these three players for a significant period of time.

The NY Jets have suffered a near-unprecedented number of injuries this summer. While the vast majority of those injuries have come at the wide receiver position, plenty of other positions have been affected.

From Patrick Onwuasor to La’Mical Perine, the Jets have seen a few players go down in recent days who could miss significant time — although the latter’s injury doesn’t appear as bad now.

On Tuesday, those injuries continued to pile up with the likes of Jamison Crowder, Chris Hogan, Braxton Berrios, and Chris Herndon all joining the list of sidelined players.

At this point, it seems like it’s easier to recount the healthy players on the roster as opposed to the injured ones. With around two weeks before the start of the season, there’s still time to get healthy.

But that time is quickly running out.

With all these injuries piling up, the following question must be asked. Which players can the Jets absolutely not afford to lose for any significant amount of time?

Which injuries would prove most detrimental to the team and put the entire season in jeopardy? That’s the question we’re out to answer today.

Let’s take a look at three players the Jets can’t afford to lose to injury.

Next: 3. Jamison Crowder

NY Jets (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)

3. Jamison Crowder, WR, NY Jets

Jamison Crowder left Tuesday’s practice with what is being described as lower-leg tightness. The former Washington wideout joined the long list of Jets receivers to be sidelined with an injury.

Thankfully, both head coach Adam Gase and Crowder himself said that the injury does not appear to be serious and it’s likely he returns to the field relatively soon.

The Jets will play it safe with Crowder — as they’ve done with various injuries this summer — but his status for Week 1 isn’t a concern at the moment. That’s good news too considering just how much they need him to be healthy.

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Gang Green went into training camp with one of the thinnest receiving corps in the NFL. Now just over two weeks into camp, eight receivers have been sidelined with injuries and only four remain fully healthy (one of which was signed a day ago).

But even when healthy, there aren’t many sure things at the wide receiver position. Crowder is one of those few sure things and is arguably the Jets’ best offensive player.

Given the state of the receiving corps and their offensive in general, the Jets can ill afford to lose Crowder for any significant period of time.

The 27-year-old established great chemistry with Sam Darnold last year and with the third-year quarterback throwing to different receivers (with decreasing talent level) seemingly every day, he needs a player who he’s familiar with catching passes come Week 1.

Crowder is that player. And on an offense lacking talent, he remains one of the Jets’ most important players in 2020.

Next: 2. Mekhi Becton

NY Jets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

2. Mekhi Becton, OT, NY Jets

The Jets have already been without one of their top rookies for all of training camp in Denzel Mims. With Mims missing all of camp and not having the benefit of a normal offseason, it’s hard to imagine him having much of an impact in his rookie season — at least early on.

Because of that, the Jets can’t afford to lose their other top rookie for any significant period of time.

The No. 11 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Mekhi Becton is expected to become a cornerstone of the Jets’ offensive line for years to come. But the Louisville product is still a little rough around the edges and will need time to develop properly in order for him to reach his ceiling.

Expect a lot of that development to come in his rookie season.

Not only will 2020 be instrumental to the growth of Becton as a player, but his presence should also help a Jets offensive line that was among the worst in the league last year.

The early results from training camp have been promising, but the Jets are just one major injury away from seeing that progress wiped away. They’re just one major injury from starting Chuma Edoga at offensive tackle again.

The Jets need Becton in the lineup for the sake of his future and for the sake of the current offense. He’s without a doubt one player they can’t afford to lose.

Next: 1. Sam Darnold

NY Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

1. Sam Darnold, QB, NY Jets

Was there ever going to be a different answer?

The Jets can realistically replace any other player on the roster. If Crowder goes down, Braxton Berrios can step into the every-day slot role. If Becton is sidelined, George Fant can slide over to left tackle.

But if Sam Darnold misses any significant period of time, the entire future of the franchise might change.

Darnold has yet to play a full 16-game season to this point. That doesn’t mean he’s considered injury-prone, but it’s clear that he has a lot of things to prove in 2020 and one of those things is that he can stay healthy for a full season.

However, if Darnold misses say eight or more games, it’s impossible to know what the Jets will plan to do.

In the short-term, Joe Flacco would likely step into the starting role (assuming he’s healthy). That’s fine, but it would obviously indicate that the Jets are punting on the season — through no fault of their own.

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But the real talking point is the effect Darnold’s injury would have on his long-term future. If his 2020 season is wiped out due to an injury, Darnold would then enter his fourth season in 2021 without any solid proof that he truly is the guy.

The Jets will have to make a decision on his fifth-year option this offseason, and it will be very hard to do that without another year to evaluate him.

A serious injury to Sam Darnold could prove disastrous to both his future and the future of the franchise.

Next. NY Jets: 3 biggest studs of 2020 training camp so far

And for that reason, there is no player the Jets can’t afford to lose more than their hopeful franchise quarterback.

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