The NY Jets could target these four wide receivers in 2021 free agency.
The NY Jets will enter the 2021 offseason needing to overhaul a good portion of their roster. From the offense to the defense, few players have established themselves as long-term building blocks or even players who should play a feature role next season.
For that reason, expect general manager Joe Douglas to be very active in both free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft as he looks to bolster a Jets roster that’s in desperate need of a boost.
One position that Douglas will likely look to address further in the offseason is the wide receiver position.
This past offseason, Douglas managed to land former Baylor star Denzel Mims in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft and he signed Breshad Perriman to replace the departed Robby Anderson.
Obviously one of those two moves has worked out more than the other.
The Jets should have the opportunity to more aggressively address the position this coming offseason. With a number of high-profile names set to hit the market and the salary cap shrinking leaguewide, the Jets will have a golden opportunity to land a big-time playmaker.
Who should they target though? We take a look at four wide receivers who could hit the open market this spring.
Next: 4. JuJu Smith-Schuster
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4. The NY Jets could sign JuJu Smith-Schuster
JuJu Smith-Schuster has seemed like an ideal target for the Jets for quite some time now. But after a breakout 2018 campaign that saw him finish with 111 catches for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns, Smith-Schuster fell off a little in 2019.
Gone was Antonio Brown, and injuries and a lack of targets hindered his production the following season. While he’s on track for better numbers in 2020, the emergence of Chase Claypool has once again cut into his workload.
With Claypool shining, the Pittsburgh Steelers may not be willing to give Smith-Schuster the long-term payday that he likely desires. And if that’s the case and he hits free agency, the Jets should be one of the first teams to jump at the opportunity.
Smith-Schuster turns just 24-years-old later this month making him one of the youngest upcoming free agents in the entire class. He has a season of elite production under his belt and there’s no denying his talent
The former USC star could step in and give the Jets a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver — even if he’s not as accomplished as the other three players on this list.
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The days of hoping for a Sam Darnold USC reunion might be over, but that doesn’t mean the Jets shouldn’t target Smith-Schuster this offseason.
And if anything, he’s probably the most likely of all four players on this list to actually hit the open market. Make him a priority.
Next: 3. Kenny Golladay
3. The NY Jets could sign Kenny Golladay
Kenny Golladay is one of the most physically dominant wide receivers in the NFL. At 6-foot-4, 214 pounds, Golladay brings no shortage of big-play potential to any offense he’s a part of.
His massive frame allows him to bully opposing cornerbacks in 50/50 situations and he’s developed into a true No. 1 wideout for the Detroit Lions.
With back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons under his belt, Golladay showed off his red-zone abilities when he led the NFL with 11 touchdowns in 2019. And despite battling through a hip injury in 2020, he’s still been very effective when on the field.
Pairing Golladay with Mims would give the Jets two dangerous big-play, jump-ball receivers on the outside and make life very easy for Trevor Lawrence or whoever the Jets’ quarterback is next year.
The Lions were reportedly exploring trade offers for Golladay at the deadline which would seem to indicate that they’re planning for a future without him. If that’s the case, the Jets should be all over it.
His biggest weakness is probably getting separation, but he more than makes up for it with his physicality that’s unmatched by pretty much any other receiver in the league. Throw a ball within five yards of him and there’s a good chance he turns it into a catch.
If Golladay is a free agent this offseason, expect him to have no shortage of suitors — the Jets chief among them.
Next: 2. Chris Godwin
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2. The NY Jets could sign Chris Godwin
Players with Chris Godwin‘s talent, production, and age almost never actually make it to free agency. But with this coming offseason, anything is possible.
And if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can’t find a way to lock up Godwin long-term, the Jets should do everything they can to make sure he’s playing in New York next season.
In many ways, Godwin’s skill set is reminiscent of a player like Denzel Mims. Both were relatively raw talents coming out of college but had the size/speed blend to become one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.
After a few years of development, Godwin has reached that point. Pairing him up with Mims, a player who resembles a young Godwin, would make for an incredibly talented starting wide receiver duo.
Godwin has been hindered by a hamstring and finger injury in 2020, but he’s still put up very impressive numbers when on the field. Fresh of an 86-catch, 1,333-yard season, Godwin will demand a hefty payday on the open market.
But at just 24-years-old, this would be a no-brainer move.
It’s hard to see Tampa Bay just letting him walk for nothing, but they are already paying Mike Evans just shy of $17 million per season. Can they afford another massive wide receiver contract?
Godwin’s contract situation is one to keep a close eye on moving forward.
Next: 1. Allen Robinson
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1. The NY Jets could sign Allen Robinson
Allen Robinson has long been considered one of the NFL’s most underrated receivers. His talent has never been in question and neither has his production, despite the fact that he’s dealt with the likes of Blake Bortles, Nick Foles, and Mitch Trubisky throwing him the ball for most of his career
It’s amazing to think how good Robinson could be with a competent quarterback. And this coming offseason could be his first real opportunity since signing with Chicago to find himself a new QB.
Robinson hauled in 98 receptions for 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns with Trubisky and Chase Daniel throwing him the ball last season. He has a 1,400-yard campaign with Bortles under his belt.
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Imagine Allen Robinson with someone like, I don’t know, Trevor Lawrence. It’s just an idea.
At 27-years-old, Robinson still has plenty left in the tank and there seems to be a good chance he hits the open market too. Chicago has surprisingly been very stingy about offering Robinson a long-term contract to the point where it’s even made his teammates grow frustrated.
They could always opt for the franchise tag in the offseason as well, but if he hits free agency, expect his price tag to be sky-high.
That said, for a Jets team desperately in search of a top-tier wide receiver, it’s hard to argue it wouldn’t be worth it.