Jets Free Agency Focus: Wide Receiver

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Over the next few days, we’re going to look at a number of options that the Jets might consider once the free agency period begins in early March.

First up, receivers.  I’ve used OTC’s projected contracts where available, and assigned Bassett’s totally arbitrary and wholly bogus odds to each player.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay BuccaneersJeremy Maclin, Eagles 
Analysis: 2013 was a worst-case scenario for the pending free agent.  Maclin tore his ACL in a contract year, and watched his teammates have career-seasons in Chip Kelly’s up tempo offense. Philadelphia likely has the inside track to bring back Maclin, but the receiver might be seeking a short-term deal to prove himself for a larger payday next year now that he’s healthy again.  Would Maclin’s stats benefit from being a top target in a lesser offense like the Jets, or being one of three in the turbo-charged Kelly offense?  The Jets have already expressed interest and Marty Mornhinweg will know exactly how to plug his old player into the offense for best effect.
OTC Contract Range: 1 year for $5 million (short-term)
Odds: 50 percent

Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers
Analysis: Sanders is a complementary piece at receiver and it would seem that the Steelers are not at all interested in retaining him.  The team is rumored to want to push Markus Wheaton into a bigger role and they have already told Big Ben the team is looking to add a taller receiver for him in 2014.  Sanders is under six feet.  The Jets might have some interest in Sanders, and Marty Mornhinweg’s history shows he is less concerned in having tall deep threats, as DeSean Jackson ably proved in Philly.  While Sanders can be a potential vertical space stretcher, he seems destined to be a second or third receiver for the Jets offense.
TJB Contract Range: 4 years for $15 million
Odds: 40 percent

Golden Tate, Seahawks
Analysis: Due to the absence of Percy Harvin for most of the 2013 season, Golden Tate provided the Seattle offense with a dependable though not necessarily flashy receiver.  Tate has yet to crest the thousand yard season, but he is extremely consistent and dependable on both offense and special-teams.  Signing a player like Tate would still leave open the possibility that the Jets will draft receivers early since he wouldn’t be the sort of target to roll coverages.  Still, Tate could be a productive and tenacious part of this offense.  Also consider that John Idzik knows Tate from his days in Seattle.
OTC Contract Range: 5 years/$25 million ($12 million guaranteed)
Odds:  30 percent

James Jones, Packers
Analysis: The Green Bay Packers have a large number of free agents looming and it is plausible while they would like James Jones to return, he might go elsewhere due to their level of prioritization.  The last time Jones was a free agent, he found a weak market and returned to the Packers thanks his quarterback urging the team’s front office to do so.  This time around Jones has improved as receiver, decreased the number of dropped passes and has become a leader amidst a platooning situation.  Jones might be entering the last phase of his career, but can still be a productive veteran receiver looking for leadership and discipline in the receivers meeting room.
OTC Contract Range: 2 years/$6 million
Odds: 25 percent

NFL: AFC Championship-New England Patriots at Denver BroncosEric Decker, Broncos
Analysis: While the season began quietly for Decker, he ended the year as the Broncos most reliable downfield threat and had 11 touchdowns and 1300 yards.  Decker could be the highest paid player of a large free agent class filled with number two and three targets.  Decker was extremely efficient with Manning and was productive dating back to the Tebow days.  That said, there is a notion that Decker might have less margin for error if put in a less than favorable situation.  The Broncos don’t have a lot of cap room to work with over the next three years but they still seem to be the leader at signing Decker for 2014.  Decker did get a peek at the Jets facilities and his wife is a singer/actress so don’t count out proximity to a major city like New York.
OTC Contract Range: 5 years for $63 million with around $27 million in gaurantees
Odds: 25 percent

Hakeem Nicks, Giants
Analysis: Nicks has a speed, physicality and a yards after the catch that is tantalizing.  He also has had production issues and durability concerns that will give many teams pause before they sign him to a serious contract.  Nicks is a player who can help a team in the right place, but for a team like the Jets who are looking for dependable options to help accelerate their offense, they can’t risk a signing a player with so much risk.
OTC Contract Range: 3 years for $30 million with $13 million guaranteed
Odds: 10 percent

Add your thoughts on these players and more in the comments!





116 comments
Kramer Kent
Kramer Kent

I would rather have Sammy Watkins in the draft.. trade up and get him..but if not, Maclin and Nicks would be good and draft a WR for safety like Marques Lee

soprano
soprano

Why isn't Julian Edleman on this list?

Rex Reyanson
Rex Reyanson

I hope Jets get 2 receivers - A # 1 and a # 2 ( whatever the labels mean)  Maclin would be excel except for the injury, will March be too early to tell, A.Peterson recovery or Jalen Rose / Iman Schumpert ?  then Tate , Sanders, Cooper -  I would go a combined   $12 - 14 mill per season for a grouping like this.


Of course the # 1 object in the draft will still be offensive playmakers -  maybe trade down to say pick 28 , pick up an extra mid / low 2 nd rounder.  then, pick 28, first rnd - best avail receiver.  2 nd round  - O ' line  & the best avail halfback with good hands and speed, fill the Leon Washington role.

hazard2012
hazard2012

Decker & Nicks not worth that kind of money to the Jets, who have lots of holes to fill.    Maclin best fit and bang for buck; especially if he can stay healthy.  Sanders too one-dimensional and given to drops, and isn't much of a deep threat.   Jets can do as well as Tate and Jones in second round of draft after taking Ebron or Amaro at 18.    


marcus81
marcus81

basically get Maclin and Sanders for what Holmes is being paid , I'm cool with that, but Jets should still draft a WR or TE with the top pick

Jeff E. Guy
Jeff E. Guy

If Mornhinweg wants Maclin, then that's the guy I hope we target. 

SackDance99
SackDance99

So, Decker is projected to get more than either Harvin or Wallace got last year in a bad year for UFA WRs and a bad year for WRs in the draft?  I don't think so.  Plus, even at those numbers, the contract would be front-loaded for the first 2 years with significant cap savings thereafter.

williamg1
williamg1

So, uhh, Darren Sharper has 5 rape charges in 4 different states. What the hell? 

MarshRandy
MarshRandy

We're forgetting one name - the great Nate Burleson 

machoking
machoking

I think you have to look at this as bringing someone in to add to an overall core of WRs.  If you look at this as any one of these guys coming in and being a "#1" you won't like any of these deals.  However, if we have Hill, Kerley, one of these guys and a potentially good draft pick, then I feel better about it.  To be clear, I am not sooo impressed with Hill, but if he was one of 4 wrs who could contribute, then I feel better.  


For what its worth, I would love to get Nicks on the thought that he has the highest ceiling. 

levi
levi

Darren sharper arrested for rape.

Brendan
Brendan

At the quoted prices above: 


Maclin - Yes

Sanders - Yes

Tate - No

Jones - Yes

Decker - No

Nicks - Yes

marcus81
marcus81

@soprano he's a system player, he will be not be that good with the Jets

harold
harold

J Martin career was going nowhere and he decided he wanted a big payday which this will become.  This was a money grab plain and simple.

harold
harold

I would prefer Nicks/Maclin or Tate/ Maclin. 

I don't think Nicks will get anywhere close to $10 million.  That seems ridiculous.

Nicks at more than 6 million is foolish.

However, I would be fine with Maclin/Sanders as a consolation prize.

harold
harold

Agreed.  If Marty likes him we should definitely target him.  He is a quality player who will only be 26 this season.

harold
harold

I think Decker at around 8 million is fine.  Much more than that I think is too much for him.  You can get two quality guys for that price.  

While, I agree he is better, I just don't think he is that much better than the other options.

bob
bob

@MarshRandy


Hey man don't you know that it hurts when you cut a brother. I'm not Lion.

williamg1
williamg1

@machoking  I just don't think Hill is a football player. He just won't go up and grab the ball. He simply waits/hopes for it for it to fall in his hands. All that size, and he doesn't know how to use it. 

Brendan
Brendan

@bob  Hey, I know Austin Howard is big, but no need for name calling, Bob-O!

williamg1
williamg1

@jaygo  Goodell already said he plans to fine James Harrison for the bullying mess in Miami. 

jma020
jma020

@levi  But the NFL might not be ready for an openly gay player.


marcus81
marcus81

@harold Tate hasn't broken 1k yards, we need a receiver that can get large chunks of yards, Jets offense should improve but isn't dynamic enough for Tate to get 1k yards

marcus81
marcus81

@harold and Mclin isn't as injury prone as he is made out to be, look at his career stats and games played, last year was the first time he was ever really hurt

levi
levi

@Brendan He has like 5 rape charges. Two just recently, he drugged and raped two different women.

Brendan
Brendan

@Marcus Armstrong I assume a ton of that $ is tied to incentives. If it's just a straight salary #, then hell no. 


Edit: And I'm also assuming that the guaranteed $ will be mostly the first season, so if he bombs they can cut bait in Y2 with minimal impact to the cap.

Brendan
Brendan

@Hanknaples I don't understand how this can be perceived as a money grab for Martin. How does this make him more money? 

harold
harold

Tate had 900 yards in a run heavy offense.  Plus he is one of the best Punt returners in football.  Remember Maclin has never had 1k in a season either.  I still think both Tate and Maclin would help us a lot.

harold
harold

Agreed, Maclin is a solid player and I am not overly concerned with his injuries..  He can be an excellent #2 poor man's #1.

bob
bob

@Brendan @bob

Honestly I rather have Simms and a draft pic at QB I'm sold on Geno . I think he can play.

Brendan
Brendan

@jaygo Ah, it's entirely possible it's one of those "Hey, watch ESPN create a story out of thin air!" thinigs. 

bob
bob

@jaygo @bob@brendan


I dismissed this story yesterday however Yardbarker posted it again their hunches are 85% right. I'm guessing  they know somebody.

Brendan
Brendan

@bob Safety net for Geno if he bombs, I would think. 

bob
bob

@brendan @bob I seen this article pop up twice why the heck would we want Matt Schaub

bklyndude
bklyndude

@Marcus Armstrong @Brendan @bklyndude  Cruz's contract is worth about $45.9 million over six years, with $15.6 million guaranteed.

Something around those numbers and a good report on his health and I would be happy.

The thought of drafting Mike Evans would make me happier,  but I think he's going to be gone.  WR in the first round, wouldn't be a necessity if we got somebody like Nicks and he's healthy.

bklyndude
bklyndude

@Brendan @bklyndude @Marcus Armstrong  Nicks was looking at a contract for more money than Victor Cruz at the start of last season.  Injuries and a poor season might put him in an area that the Jets can afford. 

I wouldn't dismiss the thought of acquiring a guy capable of being a number one WR in this league.

bklyndude
bklyndude

@Marcus Armstrong @Brendan  How much would he be worth if he was healthy last year and you never heard him complaining about not getting the ball enough, considering his past production ?

Brendan
Brendan

@Marcus Armstrong I'd probably say that if Eli was my QB, too.



But being serious now, I realize he's a headache, and the price might be too high, but I was more saying I'm open to the idea of adding Nicks. Also, I would be lying if I said the added bonus of turning Giants trash into Jets treasure isn't attractive to me. 

Brendan
Brendan

@Marcus Armstrong He's a very good player, it'd come down to how Rex/Marty deal with his surliness. But a nice new contract would be one way to keep him happy.