With news breaking that Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay has avoided the franchise tag and will hit free agency, Joe Douglas and the NY Jets should do all they can to sign the 27-year-old former Pro Bowler.
For too long, Jets fans have been forced to convince themselves that guys like Jermaine Kearse and Breshad Perriman are capable No. 1 receivers worthy of starting in the NFL. It’s time for this team to go big or go home when it comes to the wide receiver position this offseason.
After Chicago tagged Allen Robinson and Tampa Bay tagged Chris Godwin, Golladay has emerged as the undisputed top wide receiver in this year’s free-agent class. Golladay should have many potential suitors, and if Douglas really wants him, he will have to go to war for him.
While Golladay may have only played in five games last year and missed a chunk of his rookie season, he proved that he is a force to be reckoned with when healthy.
He followed a 1,000-yard 2018 campaign with a whopping 11 receiving touchdowns and 1,190 yards in 2019. Golladay managed to break out in 2019 and make the Pro Bowl without the help of Matthew Stafford who missed half the year with a back injury.
With two statistically impressive seasons under his belt, numbers can only say so much about a player such as Golladay.
The NY Jets would benefit from adding Kenny Golladay
His 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame paired with his incredible athleticism makes him a nightmare for opposing defenses. He’s a physical receiver who uses his size and freakish leaping ability to attack the football in 50/50 jump ball situations — truly a quarterback’s best friend and the ultimate red-zone threat.
While currently in the prime of his career, Golladay still has a mountain of untapped potential that is just waiting to be unleashed on the rest of the league.
Pairing him alongside last year’s promising rookie Denzel Mims could give the Jets the outside presence they have been lacking since Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker in 2015.
According to Spotrac, Golladay’s calculated market value sits at an annual salary of approximately $17 million. For Douglas to bring him to New York, he may have to go beyond that price.
However, thanks to last year’s conservative approach, the Jets are in a position where they can spend a ton of money if they choose to do so.
If the Jets end up cutting Josh Doctson, Ryan Griffin, and Alex Lewis, they will have well over $70 million in cap space. If they also decide to release Jamison Crowder, they should have close to $80-85 million.
Hypothetically, if they let Crowder go, adding Golladay for $17 million would leave the team with close to $66 million — this is more than enough to make a legitimate run at one of the top guards and still fill other holes on defense as well.
The Jets could enter 2021 with a receiving corps headed by Kenny Golladay and Denzel Mims on the outside plus a rookie slot receiver platooned with Braxton Berrios, who showed last year that he belongs in the NFL.
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Despite losing Crowder in this hypothetical scenario, this new look at wide receiver led by new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur would be a substantial upgrade from last year’s ragtag group.
The question is whether or not this a move that fits Douglas’ style — at first glance, you might think no way. After all, Douglas preaches that building through the draft and strengthening the trenches is how you build contenders.
However, he has admitted that he regrets his decision to let Robby Anderson walk last offseason.
Douglas could look at the opportunity to sign Golladay as a way to justify his decision to not bring back Anderson. Not only would Golladay replace Anderson, but he would also be a significant upgrade over the former fan-favorite.
Whether or not the Jets try to sign Kenny Golladay, Douglas is expected to be more aggressive in his second attempt at free agency. As fans, all we can do is hope for the best.