Important decisions lie ahead for Joe Douglas with free agency looming.
The Jets made some progress in 2021, but Robert Saleh still needs more talent to work with. New York enters the offseason with holes on both sides of the ball and free agency is the perfect time to address some of them.
Gang Green needs to upgrade the wide receiver room. The Jets added Corey Davis in free agency and drafted Elijah Moore last offseason, but New York still needs a true No. 1 wideout to complement the two. There are plenty of free agents who can fill that role.
There are also plenty of receivers the Jets should avoid targeting. Here are eight Douglas should steer clear of once free agency begins.
Green’s best days are behind him. The 33-year-old caught 54 passes for 848 yards and three touchdowns with the Cardinals in 2021, but he hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2017 and is not the elite deep threat he was during his prime with the Bengals. Green wouldn’t be of much help lined up opposite of Davis.
Sanders is pondering retirement, which could make this a moot point sooner than later. He is also at the point in his career where signing with a rebuilding team like the Jets is unrealistic. Sanders was actually productive with the Bills in 2021 — he posted a career-best 14.9 yards per catch — but he was playing in a loaded offense with a top-five quarterback. He’s not much of a fit in New York for a multitude of reasons.
Treadwell experienced a career resurgence in 2021, as he found a home with the Jaguars. The former first-round pick caught 33 passes for 434 yards and a touchdown in his best season since 2018, providing a reason to believe he is finally turning a corner. Treadwell is somewhat limited as a route runner, though, and doesn’t profile as an ideal fit in Mike LaFleur’s offence. The talent and potential are there, but the specifics of his skill set make him a wideout the Jets shouldn’t bother pursuing. New York doesn’t need another Denzel Mims on its hands.
Valdes-Scantling has been feast or famine throughout his NFL career. In some games, he is one of the Packers’ best wide receivers and a reliable deep threat. In others, he either struggles to catch the ball or completely disappear. The Jets need a more proven pass-catcher. Valdes-Scantling is a good player, but he is far too inconsistent. Matt LaFleur might be able to live with that in Green Bay given he has other targets to turn to, but his brother, Mike, needs more from any wide receiver the Jets sign in free agency.
Smith has done next to nothing with the ample opportunities he has received in New Orleans. The 26-year-old caught just 32 passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns in 2021 despite Michael Thomas being out for the entire season. Some of Smith’s lack of production can be attributed to the issues the Saints had at quarterback, but he wasn’t all that productive when Jameis Winston was healthy. He didn’t do much with Drew Brees in 2020, either.
Pascal isn’t explosive enough to pique the Jets’ interest this offseason despite being linked to the team last offseason. He caught just 38 passes for 384 yards and three touchdowns with the Colts in 2021 and failed to establish himself as a reliable No. 2 option to supplement Michael Pittman Jr. Indianapolis employs a run-heavy defense, but that is not a defense for Pascal’s lack of production. He didn’t do much with the targets he received.
Watkins hasn’t caught more than 50 passes in a season since 2019 and no longer possesses the explosiveness that made him such a dangerous receiver early in his career with the Bills. Watkins turns 29 in June and he isn’t trending in the right direction. The Jets shouldn’t have any interest in the Clemson product.