NY Jets: 3 non-QB storylines to watch in Week 1 vs. Panthers

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With football season around the corner, the NY Jets enter 2021 looking to shed their skin and kickstart a new era its fan base can be proud of. However, with that comes a lot of questions that will be unfolded over the team’s 17 weeks.

While all eyes in Week 1 will be on the highly anticipated quarterback matchup between Zach Wilson and Sam Darnold, there are other aspects to watch for in the team’s season-opener against the Carolina Panthers.

1. Robby Anderson revenge game against the NY Jets?

Now in his second season as Jets general manager, one of Joe Douglas’ biggest mistakes since assuming his current position is letting wide receiver Robby Anderson walk in the 2020 offseason.

Signing a two-year, $20 million contract with the Panthers, the Temple alum decided to join his former collegiate coach Matt Rhule in Carolina.

In his first season with the Panthers, Anderson recorded 95 receptions for 1,096 yards and three touchdowns, earning him a two-year, $29.5 million extension running through the 2023 season.

“I’ve thought about Robby a lot,” Douglas said midway through last season. “As you guys know, there are thousands of decisions that come across your desk throughout the year and I go back and I look at what I could have done better in specific situations.”

Douglas would go on to express his regret and admit he misread the receiver’s market.

"I thought our guys really did a fantastic job of really analyzing every position group’s market value leading up to free agency last year and I think what was wrong with us and Robby, we thought that Robby’s value was going to be even greater than what he signed for in Carolina. I think that’s on me ultimately and that’s on us moving forward to get a better handle on every player’s market value. Honestly, we would all love to see Robby here doing what he’s doing and I tip my hat to the success he has, but obviously we don’t want to be in the business of losing big players."

Joe Douglas

While Sam Darnold did not have a lot to work with during his short stint with Gang Green, Anderson emerged as a security blanket for the young QB and one that he seemed to develop good chemistry with.

Now, the two are once again reunited, so whether or not the decision to let both of them go will come back to bite the Jets remains to be seen.