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After watching former NY Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson break out for the Carolina Panthers, the need for an improved wide receiver corps has become even more apparent for the team.
Chris Herndon seemed to return to his rookie form in the final few games of the season, but with Breshad Perriman likely hitting the open market, wide receiver once again becomes a massive weakness for a roster with more glaring holes.
Thankfully, there are a few big names in the free agency pool this offseason. The Jets are likely to boast over $100 million to play with entering the 2021 league year and are almost certain to be aggressive.
They could use some of that cap space to upgrade one of the weakest position groups on the roster. Let’s take a look at five wide receivers the Jets could target in free agency.
NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
5. The NY Jets could target Will Fuller
A former first-round pick, Will Fuller has battled injuries for a majority of his short career. When he can stay on the field, similar to Jamison Crowder, he is a force to be reckoned with.
Tallying close to 900 yards and eight touchdowns in just 11 games, Fuller showed he could be an excellent receiver in 2020.
Ironically, the Notre Dame product still couldn’t finish a full season, as he was suspended for the remainder of the 2020 season for violating the league’s PED policy.
Fuller is just 27-years-old, and will likely be a cheaper addition to the roster. Coming off the best season of his career, Fuller won’t be as hot of a commodity as some others on this list. If the Jets end up signing Will Fuller, it could be on a short-term contract.
It’s evident that Joe Douglas is a fan of one-year deals, as evident with his contracts with Brian Poole and Breshad Perriman. Assuming the Jets aren’t desperate to add Fuller to the roster, a short-term deal might be enough to land him.
A one or two-year contract might be the best idea, as it would be a test for Fuller’s ability to stay on the field. It would be a low-risk, high reward deal for the Jets.
Next: 4. A growing character concern
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4. The NY Jets could target JuJu Smith-Schuster
JuJu Smith-Schuster has been in the news a lot the last few weeks/months, and that isn’t a good thing.
Between dancing on other team’s logos and giving the Cleveland Browns plenty of fuel to use in their playoff meeting, JuJu’s antics have seen him trending downwards from his breakout season in 2018.
The market for Smith-Schuster could be interesting. Teams could ignore his increasingly concerning character issues in exchange for a solid receiver, or ignore the USC star completely.
If Douglas decides the Jets could use Smith-Schuster’s talents, and the positives outweigh the negatives, he could provide a new element to a struggling offense.
Smith-Schuster has only had one 1,000-yard season, but did come to play in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ playoff loss, racking up 13 catches for 157 yards and a touchdown.
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Should the Jets also choose to stick with Sam Darnold instead of selecting a quarterback in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft, signing Smith-Schuster would add a former teammate to the team to help Darnold’s development.
The Jets will just have to decide on whether or not they will be able to help calm the growing concern that is his comments and actions outside off the football field.
Next: 3. A recent breakout
3. The NY Jets could target Corey Davis
A former fifth overall pick, Corey Davis hasn’t lived up to his high draft slot as of yet.
That being said, this last season saw Davis seemingly reach some of that potential in a shortened season. In just 12 games, Davis neared his first 1,000-yard season and scored on five occasions.
There’s a chance that Davis will not hit free agency this offseason, despite the Titans not picking up Davis’s fifth-year option.
However, with A.J. Brown recording back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and being selected to the Pro Bowl this year, Tennessee might opt to select a new receiver in the upcoming draft or sign one in free agency themselves.
Davis isn’t a surefire pickup for the team, as he has had some issues with drops and was virtually non-existent in their playoff loss against the Baltimore Ravens. However, paired with Crowder and Mims, Davis could end up being the missing piece of the puzzle the Jets needs to find.
By no means would adding Davis be a bad move, so long as Douglas does not overpay for him. Considering his contracts are normally cap friendly, Davis might be added to the team for a bargain.
This is, of course, assuming that the Jets don’t end up in a bidding war with his current team in the Titans. Tennessee is more of a complete team, having made the playoffs two years in a row. The Jets are a few missing pieces away from making a run themselves.
The decision may ultimately rest on which team Corey Davis would rather call home.
Next: 2. A true No. 1 receiver
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2. The NY Jets could target Allen Robinson
Not just a top wide receiver target in free agency, Allen Robinson is considered to be one of the best overall free agents in the upcoming league year. On top of that, he’s one of the most talented receivers in the entire NFL.
The 28-year old Chicago Bears receiver is expected to walk away from his current team now that his contract has expired. At least, that seems to be the indication at this point.
Signing with Chicago for a three-year deal back in 2018, Robinson has been one of the few bright spots on a hot and cold Bears offense. Just a few years removed from missing almost the entire 2017 season, Allen Robinson has proved to be an incredible option at wide receiver.
With back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and topping 100 catches for the first time in his career in 2020, Robinson is going to be one of the hottest targets for any receiver-needy team in the upcoming league year.
He has consistently managed to put up top-tier numbers even despite poor quarterback play. Paired with the likes of Nick Foles, Mitch Trubisky, and Blake Bortles for much of his career, it’s amazing to see the level of consistency he’s managed.
Robinson is a true No. 1 receiver, as he has been since signing with Chicago. A receiver room of Crowder, Mims, and Robinson would be a massive upgrade for next year’s Jets.
Next: 1. A free agency priority
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1. The NY Jets could target Chris Godwin
And the cream of the crop when it comes to wide receivers in free agency. Chris Godwin may or may not even see the chance to test his value this offseason, as it’s very unlikely that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would even allow Godwin to walk.
That being said, they have had an entire year to re-sign their stud wide receiver opposite to Mike Evans. Godwin tallied a breakout season in 2019, and likely would have had a chance to begin a streak of 1,000-yard seasons had he not missed a handful of games.
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The Jets would have the opportunity to make up for the fact that they missed on drafting Godwin in the 2017 NFL Draft, instead opting to draft Alabama prospect ArDarius Stewart.
And we all know how that worked out. Godwin was selected to a Pro Bowl last year, while Stewart is currently a wide receiver in the CFL.
Godwin is now Super Bowl-bound and an integral part of Tampa Bay’s offense. At just 24-years-old, you aren’t going to find many more valuable prospective free agents than Godwin.
It goes without saying that the Jets are in desperate need of receiver help, and just so happen to have a lot of money to play with in a stacked wide receiver pool.
Gang Green likely can’t go wrong with adding any of the receivers above.