7 wide receivers the NY Jets should target at the trade deadline

Which wide receivers could the Jets trade for?
NY Jets, Courtland Sutton
NY Jets, Courtland Sutton / Perry Knotts/GettyImages
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2. The NY Jets could trade for DeAndre Hopkins

Call it an offseason redo.

After flirting with Odell Beckham Jr., before he took the money and ran to Baltimore, the Jets were in a position to target another accomplished veteran pass catcher who became available on the open market in DeAndre Hopkins.

Surprisingly enough, when asked about the possibility of pursuing Hopkins this past summer, head coach Robert Saleh, rather than relaying the generic non-response most teams give when discussing a potential free-agent acquisition, openly shot down the idea of signing the former All-Pro. Saleh went out of his way to express his faith in the team's group of receivers.

So, perhaps the Jets are not enamored with Hopkins or the player they perceive him to have become later in his career. However, keep in mind that when Saleh was talking up his receiving room, Corey Davis was still a Jet, and Mecole Hardman was the team's shiny new toy. 

The Jets weren't the only receiver-needy team to bypass Hopkins on the free-agent market. Several teams looked the other way. 

The 31-year-old Hopkins eventually settled for the best deal he could find — a potential two-year incentive-laden deal with Tennessee, where he would get the chance to continue to be a team's top pass target. 

Things haven't exactly worked out that well for Hopkins with the Titans. After six games, he's battled injuries, has yet to score a touchdown, and has produced only one 100-yard receiving effort.

At 2-4, Tennessee may be sellers at the deadline. Ryan Tannehill's ankle injury will make it challenging for them to move on from him. Derrick Henry could potentially be on the block, and Hopkins, the veteran pass catcher who was supposed to help ease the poor trade of A.J. Brown a season ago, seems very expendable.

The Jets need to make the call to Tennessee. The asking price can't be that high at this stage. There's a potential out in Hopkins deal after one season, so any move for him is of the rental variety.

On a team like the Jets, Hopkins can gradually slide into a No. 2 role on the opposite side of Garrett Wilson. He wouldn't need to be the featured target and would no longer draw every opposing team's top-cover cornerback.

As evidenced by Hopkins' performance two weeks ago against Indianapolis, where the veteran nabbed eight catches for 140 yards, he can still play at a high level and is precisely the type of outside and red-zone threat the Jets need.

3/4. The NY Jets could trade for Courtland Sutton or Jerry Jeudy

There's no doubt that any NFL teams looking for wide receiver help are knocking on the Denver Broncos' door asking about both Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. 

The 1-5 Denver Broncos are a prime trade partner because they are in reset mode with a desperate need for draft capital after trading away last year's first-round selection and 2024 second and third-round picks in the Sean Payton deal.

The Jets might not be able to compete or may not want to meet Denver's trade demands, but Joe Douglas would be doing his team a disservice if he didn't inquire about potentially adding Jeudy or Sutton.

24-year-old Alabama standout Jerry Jeudy has not lived up to his expectations in Denver. Injuries and immaturity have been his downfall thus far in the pros, but he is coming off a career year in 2022 and has an attractive contractual situation.

Jeudy has a manageable 12 million-dollar fifth-year option for 2024. A team can make the rest of 2023 and 2024 an audition period for him. Perhaps a change of scenery and reuniting with Nathaniel Hackett again will get Jeudy back to the promise he showed at the end of 2022.

Another receiver who has familiarity with Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is Courtland Sutton. Acquiring the former SMU star might not require as hefty of a price as Jeudy in terms of draft capital.

With Sutton having a fully guaranteed $14 million in 2023, he could be had in a salary dump pick swap type deal. Depending on how much of Sutton's current deal Denver plans to assume, he still has two years left on his contract, but there is a potential out in 2024.

What Courtland Sutton brings to the table besides his knowledge of the Jets offensive system is a red zone presence. It's an area that the Jets have struggled with recently. At 6-foot-4, 216 pounds, Sutton has the size and physicality to be a factor in that area.

5/6. The NY Jets could trade for Davante Adams or Hunter Renfrow

The dilemma here for Joe Douglas is that the Raiders are in the same boat the Jets currently reside in. Las Vegas, at 3-3, is also in the mix to make the playoffs, but that shouldn't preclude the Jets from continuously making phone calls to obtain the services of pipedream Davante Adams.

As long as Aaron Rodgers is in the Jets building, Adams is always going to be a favored target for the organization. The likelihood of that happening during this season is extremely slim, but that doesn't mean that Joe Douglas shouldn't explore giving the Raiders an offer they can't refuse.

To make that type of deal happen now, it would likely take some high-end draft capital, perhaps in 2025, and a combination of capable starters like defensive end Carl Lawson and maybe even cornerback Bryce Hall, who has proven his worth as a starting-caliber player in recent weeks.

One can dream, right? The duo of Garrett Wilson and Davante Adams would be so lethal. It wouldn't matter who the quarterback is, but could you imagine those guys with Rodgers? I could.

Sidebar: The same shoot-your-shot mentality with Davante Adams could also be applied to Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans. Tampa Bay, like Las Vegas, is a contender for the postseason and has stressed that they have no interest in moving Evans despite failing to give him the contract extension he seeks. Even still, it won't hurt the Jets to check in on Evans' availability.

From fantasy land to reality, Hunter Renfrow enters the picture. Two seasons ago, Renfrow was a revelation for the Raiders. The Clemson underdog made the Pro Bowl with 103 receptions for over 1,000 yards and nine scores.

The Raiders rewarded him with a contract extension, but after an injury-plagued 2022 campaign, Renfrow has been phased out of Las Vegas' offense. 

Nothing about Renfrow or his game is particularly sexy. However, with all due respect to longtime veteran Randall Cobb, who is only a Jet because of his connection to Aaron Rodgers and, to a lesser extent, Nathaniel Hackett, the Jets have arguably the worst starting slot receiver in football. Renfrow would be a clear upgrade over Cobb.

Renfrow has two years remaining on his Raiders deal with no guarantees beyond this season. The Jets would only be on the hook for $3.6 million for the remainder of 2023 if they acquire him. He's also signed for the 2024 season, so acquiring him wouldn't be just a half-season rental. 

It's not the type of Super Bowl boost that obtaining Adams would provide, but the addition of Renfrow would help the Jets improve their passing game, especially in short areas and on third down.