Why NY Jets must avoid Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency

This would be a big mistake

Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Marquez Valdes-Scantling / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets have remained active in the wide receiver market throughout free agency, and while the team is yet to make a move for a wideout at the time of writing, they're very much expected to address the position.

The team has reportedly been connected to longtime Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd, although the assumption is still that he will end up in Pittsburgh. One other wide receiver they're rumored to have interest in is Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

The Valdes-Scantling connection with the Jets makes sense, given his ties to both Aaron Rodgers and Nathaniel Hackett. The 29-year-old spent four seasons in Green Bay from 2018 to 2021, crossing paths with both the Jets quarterback and offensive coordinator.

Valdes-Scantling was released by the Kansas City Chiefs this month following a disappointing 2023 season, and while his ties to the organization make him a logical target, the Jets would be wise to explore different options.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling would be a terrible signing for the NY Jets in free agency

A fifth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Valdes-Scantling put together a few quality seasons as a supplementary piece in the Packers' offense. The South Florida product was, at one point, seen as one of the best deep threats in the NFL.

He led the league in yards per reception in 2020, his best season to date. Valdes-Scantling finished that year with 33 catches for a career-high 690 yards and six touchdowns. He left to sign with the Chiefs ahead of the 2022 season, but his time in Kansas City never lived up to expectations.

Following a productive 2022 campaign, Valdes-Scantling returned in 2023 and put together arguably the worst season of his career. He finished with just 21 catches for 315 yards and a touchdown despite playing a whopping 58 percent of offensive snaps with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback.

ESPN Analytics has an overall receiver rating that takes into account open score (how well a receiver separates), catch rating, and YAC rating. Valdes-Scantling ranked 149th out of just 153 qualified wide receivers, per ESPN analytics in 2023.

The only wide receivers to rank lower than Valdes-Scantling were Van Jefferson, Jonathan Mingo, and Allen Lazard. He was tied with DeVante Parker. That's a who's who of some of the worst receivers in football last season.

Valdes-Scantling's 0.71 yards per route run ranked fifth-worst among all 93 wide receivers to have at least 40 targets. Once again, Lazard was one of the only players below him. His 20.0 YAC rating, per ESPN Analytics, was the worst among all 153 qualified wide receivers.

By almost every metric, Valdes-Scantling was one of the least efficient and productive wide receivers in the NFL last season. He's been a middling WR3/WR4 for most of his career despite exclusively catching passes from two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

There are countless better wide receiver targets in free agency and the 2024 NFL Draft than Valdes-Scantling. The Jets would be wise to ignore the personal connections and explore other options.