The big thing the Jets lacked this season was weapons at wide receiver.
Wide receiver was a big question mark entering the 2013 season. Santonio Holmes was coming off a disappointing 2012 due to injury and what appeared to be a player who has lost his passion for the game. Holmes was wrongly named a team captain a few years ago and It’s been downhill since. Holmes has dodged training camp, sat alone on the bench with his “C” on his jersey while his team was trying to comeback, he’s done plenty of trash talking to motivate opposing defenses, dropping balls and every Jets fan can’t wait to see him go. Not what we expected when the Jets traded for the Super bowl mvp. Holmes will be out of the picture next season. Thank goodness!
The other question mark wide receiver Is Stephen Hill. Like Holmes, Hill also missed time in 2012 due to injury but Hill has also shown poor hands. This season Hill cutback on the drops but still found away into the doghouse and was injured yet again. At 6’4 215lbs and a sub 4.4 40 yard dash Stephen Hill looks the part. However until he proves us otherwise, he can’t be penciled in as a starter and must be lower on the depth chart. I am not ready to call the 22 year old a bust by no means. The wide receiver position sometimes takes a few years till full potential is reached. Demaryius Thomas a Georgia Tech receiver like Hill, wasn’t productive till the end of his 2nd season then exploded in year 3. I can give a long list of receivers who took at least 3 years to get going. Believe me, there would be a long list. Please don’t hit the panic button and use the term “bust” just yet. He should be the 4th or 5th wr going into camp, hoping he gets healthy and works hard during the off season and then just hope for the best. Week 3 home vs Buffalo was his best game. That was a little taste of what he’s capable of. We need to see more of that.
Jeremy Kerley was the Jets leading receiver in 2012 due to all the injuries. This year Kerley missed 4 games of his own due to injury and was still the teams leading receiver. The Jets lost all 4 games he didn’t play in and were 8-4 when he played. For the 2nd straight year Kerley was reliable on 3rd downs, showed good playmaking ability, and had consistent hands. He Is better suited as a slot receiver and could benefit from having a solid receiver opposite him. How can you not root for Kerley? He plays hard.
David Nelson was a nice mid-season pick up by Idzik. The Jets were severely banged up at wide receiver and they desperately needed someone to step in and produce. Nelson made an impact as soon as he got here. He had a few costly drops during the year but all in all Nelson did a good job. He’s a tall target at 6’5. He’s a good locker room guy. He wants to be a Jet and he was awarded a contract extension for his hard work. He Is a solid reserve wr who can fill in as a starter if needed.
The other receivers who contributed somewhat were Clyde Gates, Greg Salas and Saalim Hakim. Gates was frustrating to watch. Salas made some nice plays here and there, and Hakim Is a speed guy with limited skill. Of the 3 I’d only bring back Salas.
The Jets could use 2 more quality wide receivers. A big play guy who can be the go-to guy and a speed receiver because this Is what the nfl has become. The Jets are sure to draft a wr but will they use a 1st round pick on a wr? The last 5 1st round picks the Jets drafted were on defense. The last time they took a wr in the 1st round was Santana Moss in 2001. If Idzik feels that there Is a game changing playmaker at wr, maybe the Jets draft one at 18. If they go for another position in round 1 I don’t think the Jets wait too long in the draft to take one.
The other option is free agency. This year’s crop of free agents include- Eric Decker, Hakeem Nicks, Golden Tate, Julian Edelman, Emmanuel Sanders, James, Jones, Jacoby Jones, Anquan Boldin, Mario Manningham, Jeremy Maclin. Riley Cooper and Jerricho Cotchery. All the players on this list have playoff experience many have a ring.
Eric Decker- He is tops on this list. Some think his numbers are padded because of who throws him the ball, I say no matter who Is throwing to him he can make plays. Decker Is a bigtime wr. The Broncos won’t be able to pay him. After 2014 Demaryius Thomas will be a free agent and they can’t afford to pay Peyton Manning, Decker and D.Thomas. The problem with Decker Is he’s coming off 2 ultra productive years and there are plenty of teams who may be more willing to overpay for him. Buffalo Bills come to mind immediately. Decker may get a boatload!
Hakeem Nicks- The Giants just splurged on Victor Cruz and have Reuben Randle waiting so Nicks is going to be a goner. Nicks when healthy has been a beast. However these past 2 seasons the beast hasn’t been seen. Entering a contract year I would of expected a monster season so a red flag Is there. Now keep in mind the entire Giants team underachieved so It’s tough to blame just Nicks. I heard rumors/rumblings that he gave up down the stretch of the season. Sounds too much like a Santonio to me. I’m sure he would prefer not to move out of the area. Nicks Is a solid starter who has a ring. If his price tag Isn’t too high, I wouldn’t mind Hakeem Nicks at all.
Golden Tate- I like Tate as a player. He makes big plays. I am concerned that he will be drastically overpaid. Teams that have a lot of success like Seattle, have players that other teams want. Tate to me Is a nice player who is a marginal starter in this league. I strongly feel some team will throw a lot of money at him ala Mario Manningham when he became a free agent a few years ago. Tate is 5’10 200 lbs. He’s not the kind of receiver who can carry a team and I think he will get paid like a guy who can. I know Idzik has the connection to Seattle he was there when they drafted him. I’d like to see money spent elsewhere. Mark my words Tate will cash in, Bigtime and someone will overpay and hurt their cap.
Julian Edelman- He is coming off a 100+ reception 1,000 yard season in New England. Stealing him away from the Pats would obviously be nice. I’m sure Rex would love a player like Edelman on his team. Would Edelman like to be a Jet? Not sure. Would he be as productive away from Brady and that system? Would that be like having 2 slot wr’s? I’m very curious to see what his market value Is. It would also be nice for Brady to lose 2 of his favorite wideouts Welker and Edelman in back to back years. Losing him to the Jets may be double nice.
Emmanuel Sanders- This was the 1st year Sanders was a starter. He was buried behind Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace. Sanders is a fine wide receiver who can make some big plays with his speed. Sanders is not a #1 wr. If the Jets signed Sanders they would need another one in addition to him. I think Sanders will re-sign with the Steelers unless a desperate team overspends for him.
James Jones- Jones has played all 7 years with Green Bay. For the 1st 5 seasons he was stuck behind Driver and Jennings on the depth chart. Last year Jones was a huge touchdown maker with 14 td receptions. This year Jones played well again despite Tolzien and Flynn playing some. With Nelson and Cobb and the emergence of Jarrett Boykin, Jones’ days in Green Bay are numbered. He’s not Decker or Nicks but he is 6’1, has good speed and Is an excellent route runner. He’ll be 30 in March. Good locker room guy. Must be on radar.
Jacoby Jones- When I was in Baltimore a few weeks back I saw Jacoby Jones flying passed Jets db’s I said to myself we could use that speed on our team. Jacoby Jones Is another receiver who will turn 30 this year. He Is more of a 2nd or 3rd option receiver who can be used as a kick returner. If the Jets don’t want Cribbs to return next season, Jacoby Jones might make sense.
Anquan Boldin- He Is another 30+ year old who has a ring. Boldin was traded to the 49ers to the dismay of Ravens fans and had another solid year. Boldin still has some gas left in the tank and as long as he Isn’t signed to a long term deal he would make sense in green and white. He makes clutch plays and Is one of the best blocking wide receivers in the game. Good mentor for other receivers as well. I like Anquan.
Mario Manningham- Manningham has been hit with the injury bug. He cashed in on a big money deal after he left the Giants, and his next contract will be for a lot less. Is he a “one play wonder” or Is he a guy you can depend on as an every day playmaker? I say pass on Mario.
Jeremy Maclin- His name has come up a lot as a top wr free agent. I like Maclin as a player ever since his college days at Missouri. He said he wants to stay with the Eagles. Buyer beware he’s coming off season ending surgery for a torn ACL. Unless you get him at a bargain price (not likely) I say pass on Maclin. The Jets have had so many injuries at the wideout position signing Maclin doesn’t seem to make too much sense. I’d like someone healthier.
Riley Cooper- After making headlines for the wrong reason during the preseason, Cooper came back and had a very solid year for Chip Kelly. I’m not sure the Eagles can afford to pay for Maclin and Cooper to return since they already paid D’sean Jackson plenty. Cooper Is a physical receiver who can make plays and find the endzone. At 6’3 220lbs and just entering his prime, Cooper wouldn’t be a bad option If they fail to land other receivers.
Jerricho Cotchery- If the Jets liked Cotchery they wouldn’t of let him go in the 1st place. For the life of me I’ll never understand why the Jets got rid of him. He was the best 3rd down receiver the Jets had since Wayne Chrebet retired. He was a favorite of mine and I gave him the nickname “Clutchery” due to his frequent clutch plays he made. If the Jets didn’t want him then, I can’t see why they would want him now. By the way, Clutchery had a career high 10 td’s this year and when he’s not playing against the Jets, I’m still rooting for him.
Please get some weapons! Try not to overvalue what’s out there. Cutting Holmes should free up some cap space so relief should be coming to the wide receiver position.