Surprising young WR has 'impressed' NY Jets this offseason

Could Jason Brownlee push for a larger role in 2024?
Jason Brownlee
Jason Brownlee / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets made multiple additions to their wide receiver room this offseason, signing former Los Angeles Chargers star Mike Williams and drafting Malachi Corley in the third round. The additions were much-needed given the team's obvious struggles at the position last year.

However, even with Williams and Corley now in the fold, the young receivers returning from last season are still hoping to make an impact. One such player is Jason Brownlee.

Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2023, Brownlee was a "Hard Knocks" darling who made the 53-man roster out of training camp and played sparingly as a rookie. The former SMU star is reportedly making waves this spring.

ESPN's Rich Cimini reported on Sunday that Brownlee has "impressed" the Jets this offseason and could be a "surprise" in the team's receiving corps in 2024. He's someone to keep an eye on.

Can Jason Brownlee make an impact for the NY Jets in 2024?

Brownlee was widely seen as a potential Day 3 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, which is why the Jets jumped at the opportunity to make him one of the highest-paid undrafted free agents in the league after he went unselected.

The 25-year-old rewarded them for their show of faith, making enough plays in the summer to warrant a roster spot alongside fellow undrafted receiver Xavier Gipson.

Gipson would play a larger role as a rookie, largely due to his special teams contributions, but Brownlee is hoping to continue to climb the depth chart this year.

Brownlee enters the summer as the de facto sixth wide receiver on the Jets' depth chart. The likes of Garrett Wilson, Mike Williams, Malachi Corley, and Allen Lazard are all guaranteed roster spots. The expectation is that Gipson should be safe as well.

That realistically leaves one spot for the remaining wideouts on the Jets' roster. Brownlee's primary competition will come in the form of another former undrafted wide receiver, Irv Charles, who emerged as a key special teamer last season.

The departure of Justin Hardee makes Charles even more integral to the Jets' special-teams unit. That could leave Brownlee on the outside looking in unless the Jets decide to carry seven wide receivers.

At 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, Brownlee gives the Jets size and jump-ball ability at the wide receiver position, and while he's still developing as an overall route runner, he could still find a role as a red-zone target in the Jets' offense.

The biggest thing working against Brownlee is his biggest downside is his lack of special-teams versatility. Those final back-of-the-roster spots are typically reserved for players who can contribute on special teams. Brownlee played just 13 special-teams snaps in seven games as a rookie.

If the tiebreaker comes down to special-teams value, players like Gipson and Charles will have the edge.

Nonetheless, the Jets' coaching staff has spoken very highly of Brownlee since he joined the team in 2023. It's clear the team remains high on his potential, and a strong summer this summer could very well solidify not only his roster spot but possibly a role in the offense.

Evidently, he's made a strong impression this spring. Here's to hoping Brownlee can carry that momentum into the summer.