New York Jets Pre-Free Agency/Draft Roster Breakdown – Wide Receiver

Cole Patterson breaks down the New York Jets wide receivers before Free Agency and the Draft

Before you know it, your favorite NFL team will undergo a dramatic facelift and hypothetically improve their prospects for the 2014 season. Don’t forget, however, the 2013 rosters are still set and old faces will play just as important roles as the new ones. As of today NFL Free Agency beings tomorrow at 4pm. Each day, we at TOJ have addressed a new position group and where there will be change. Today, wide receiver.

For the rest of the Pre-Free Agency/Draft Roster Breakdown Series:

2013 New York Jets Depth Chart:

  • Santonio Holmes – Cut
  • Stephen Hill – Under contract through 2015
  • Jeremy Kerley – Under contract for 2014
  • David Nelson – Under contract for 2014
  • Greg Salas – Under contract for 2014
  • Josh Cribbs – Unrestricted free agent
  • Clyde Gates – Under contract for 2014
  • Saalim Hakim – Under contract through 2015
  • Vidal Hazelton – Exclusive Rights Free Agent (signed Future/Reserve contract)

As Currently Constituted: 

Oh how promising this group appeared last summer. Kerley, Hill, Gates, and Spadola displayed serious playmaking ability and chemistry early in camp. Gates and Hill in particular generated a lot of buzz as they showed drastically improved route running and mechanics.

Despite the preseason buzz, Gates and Hill could not translate their pre-season stardom to meaningful games. After continuously disappointing and experiencing the dropsies, both wound up on injured reserve.

Kerley was, by far and away, the Jets most reliable and effective weapon on offense. He came up with an astounding number of clutch third downs and chain moving catches. Nelson also proved to be a dependable target and cemented his spot in camp this summer.

Salas showed some ability in a limited roll on offense and should be back to compete for a spot. Hakim played mostly on specials and could return, should he not be outplayed by someone who could fill a role on offense.

Keeping it In House:

Holmes is gone. He was instrumental in the Jets 2010 playoff run with key game winners against Cleveland, Houston, and Detroit. However, after receiving a massive contract, Holmes underperformed and became a divisive force. That being said, he will be missed both for his talent and locker room presence. In TOJ’s personal dealings with #10, he has been nothing but a true gentleman.

As of now, the Jets seem unlikely to resign Josh Cribbs. He solidified the punt return game and added some dynamism to the offense. However, he ended the season on injured reserve and his age seems to be catching up with him.

The rest of the Jets wide receivers are signed through at least 2014. However, besides Kerley, all will be competing for their jobs against a (likely) large and talented free agent and draft class.

The Market:

The market for wide receivers is deep. Both the draft and free agency provide numerous options who can come in and immediately contribute.

Everyone has their free agency “binky,” but there are some common themes occurring. Most are in agreement that Eric Decker is a poor fit for the Jets offense and is likely to be drastically overpaid. Though Golden Tate, Andre Roberts, and Emmanuel Sanders are not your traditional #1 receiver, they would still prove to be upgrades for the Jets. The team should focus on getting capable talent in house and then working out a fit, rather than limit their pool based on style of play.

Draftniks too have their fair share of “binkys.” There is a serious contingent of fans who would jump at the chance to trade up for Sammy Watkins. There are those who suggest trading down or waiting until the later rounds to take advantage of a very deep class.

Regardless of your preference, the 2014 draft has numerous talented options that could be immediate contributors: Watkins, Mike Evans, Marquise Lee, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks, Allen Robinson, and Jordan Matthews to name a few. Donte Moncreif, Jarvis Landry, Martavis Bryant, Jared Abbrederis, TJ Jones, and Brandon Coleman highlight those who could be available in the later rounds.

Clearly, the Jets have options. Expect the team to grab three to four of them options and attempt a complete overhaul of the position.

For more on the FA RBs see:

We have doggedly covered this topic here at TOJ. We have done detailed scouting reports on potential free agent targets:


We have discussed numerous draft prospects: New York Jets Specific NFL Draft Rankings: Wide Receiver

And we have discussed the Jets situation and wide receiver market at large:

Author: Cole Patterson

Cole has attended American University in Washington DC and is currently completing a double major in history and global communications at Ramapo College in Northern NJ. He has served as an NFL Analyst for a local DC radio show, Fanatic Radio. He lives and dies with the New York Jets. Cole will help lead Jets coverage and analysis.