There are the expected culprits such as defensive lineman Henry Anderson or even guards Alex Lewis and Greg Van Roten. But is Crowder really in danger of getting the axe as well?
ESPN’s Rich Cimini pondered this exact question on Tuesday and left the discussion somewhat open. Surely the Jets couldn’t consider moving on from their most consistent offensive playmaker, right?
There could actually be an argument in favor of it.
Why the NY Jets could consider moving on from Jamison Crowder
Now, this isn’t to say that the Jets should or will cut Jamison Crowder. But it is to say that it’s something that the organization could consider.
Realistically, there are maybe one or two positions that the Jets shouldn’t look to upgrade this offseason. They’re set for the future at left tackle with 2020 rookie standout Mekhi Becton and the interior defensive line appears stout as well.
Everywhere else, however, could theoretically be improved upon. That isn’t to indicate that the slot receiver position is a weakness — it most certainly is not. Crowder is arguably a top-10 slot in the league and has proven his worth over the last two years.
But if the opportunity presents itself, the Jets could cut Crowder and his $11.38 cap hit with just $1 million in dead money. That’s a sizable chunk of money to save, and it could go towards finding his replacement.
If Chris Godwin, arguably the best slot receiver in the NFL, hits the open market, you’d better believe the Jets will seriously consider the 24-year-old Pro Bowler. And if they were to make a serious run at him, cutting Crowder and using that additional cap space could prove very important.
While it’s unlikely that Godwin actually shakes free, someone like JuJu Smith-Schuster could draw the Jets’ intrigue. Somewhat of a controversial player now given his antics in Pittsburgh, the Jets are rumored to be interested.
Smith-Schuster is also only 24-years-old and is just two years removed from a 1,500-yard campaign. The Steelers are deep at wide receiver making it increasingly likely that he hits the market.
Could the Jets consider Smith-Schuster to be a younger upgrade over Crowder? Perhaps, although his off-field drama could scare some teams away. Or maybe they take a look at someone like Curtis Samuel who is a Brooklyn native and also only 24-years-old.
If not, the 2021 NFL Draft is as deep of a slot receiver class as we’ve seen in quite some time. Guys like Purdue’s Rondale Moore and Ole Miss’ Elijah Moore could feasibly start from day one and, of course, represent much cheaper options.
The Jets could find their slot receiver of the future late on Day 1 or on Day 2 while using the cap space they save from cutting Crowder to address other positions such as the offensive line.
In all likelihood, Crowder will remain with the Jets through the 2021 season. They might even approach him about restructuring his contract or adding another year or two to decrease his 2021 cap hit.
All options are on the table.
Crowder has been the Jets’ most consistent offensive performer over the last two years. By no means should the Jets consider cutting him without having a plan for the position. But there are scenarios where it makes sense to move on.
Managing the salary cap is like a flexible puzzle with multiple solutions. You need to rearrange the pieces so that they maximize the talent on your roster.
Crowder is a talented player, but the Jets might just find an arrangement they feel is more beneficial. Such is life in the cruel world of the NFL.