The #Jets are planning to sign veteran FA WR Donte Moncrief, source said, once he passes through his COVID-19 protocols. The former #Colts starter spent time with the #Panthers and #Steelers last year and recently worked out for NYJ, as well. He’ll provide depth.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 29, 2020
Moncrief, who turned 27 earlier this month, had a tumultuous 2019 season. He signed a two-year deal with the Steelers prior to the year but was cut after only five games due to his brutal performance – 4 catches on 15 targets for 18 yards (1.2 yards per target / 3.6 yards per game). Steelers quarterbacks had a passer rating of 9.8 when targeting Moncrief.
Later in the season, Moncrief latched on with the Panthers for three games, but failed to record a reception over just 25 offensive snaps before being cut once again.
A third-round pick (90th overall) of the Colts in 2014, Moncrief had been a solid complementary receiver throughout his first five seasons in the league, the first four of which (2014-17) were spent with the Colts and the fifth (2018) with the Jaguars.
From 2014-18, Moncrief caught 200-of-346 targets for 2,543 yards (7.3 per target), 128 first downs (37.0% rate), and 21 touchdowns. He averaged 2.9 receptions for 36.9 yards, 0.3 touchdowns, and 1.9 first downs per game – pace for 46 receptions, 590 yards, five touchdowns, and 30 first downs over 16 games.
In Week 4 of 2018, Moncrief burned Trumaine Johnson and the Jets for a 67-yard touchdown.
Two of Moncrief’s five best career games in terms of receiving yards came against the Jets. In the game shown above, Moncrief grabbed 5-of-5 targets for 109 yards and a touchdown. Back in Week 2 of 2015, Moncrief caught 7-of-8 targets for 122 yards and a touchdown in a 20-7 Jets win over the Colts on Monday Night Football.
It appears that Moncrief should bring solid blocking to the table. His career composite PFF run blocking grade of 64.1 would have ranked at the 61st percentile among qualified wide receivers in 2019.
Health-wise, Moncrief has a mostly reliable track record. He has not missed a game due to injury or been listed on a team’s injury report since 2017. Moncrief played 16-of-16 games in three of his first five seasons, but played only 21-of-32 from 2016-17, missing most of those games due to shoulder or ankle injuries.
With Vyncint Smith out for an extended period of time, Josh Doctson opting out of the season, Denzel Mims having yet to practice, and Breshad Perriman battling a (very minor) knee injury, the Jets’ already-thin wide receiver group has been decimated.
The additions of Moncrief and Chris Hogan bring a dosage of reliability to help weather the storm. Both players may see a decent amount of playing time on the outside early in the season, with a chance to stake their claims to an established role before Smith and the unproven Mims return to action.