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New York Jets agree to sign WR Keelan Cole (Report)

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 27: Keelan Cole Sr. #84 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks on before the start of a game against the Chicago Bears at TIAA Bank Field on December 27, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida.
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

The New York Jets add a No. 4 option and deep threat to their offense in former Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the New York Jets have agreed to sign former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole to a one-year, $5.5 million deal.

Cole is 27 years old and will turn 28 in April. A product of Division-II Kentucky Wesleyan, he went undrafted in 2017 before signing with the Jaguars. He went on to play in all 67 of Jacksonville’s regular season and playoff games from 2017-20.

Over his 64 career regular season games, Cole caught 159 of 276 targets for 2,242 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 40 catches for 560 yards and three touchdowns per season. He averaged 35.0 yards per game and 8.1 yards per target.

In 2020, Cole was targeted a career-high 88 times and caught 55 passes for 642 yards and a career-best five touchdowns, averaging 7.3 yards per target.

The 6-foot-1, 194-pounder has versatile experience between the slot and the outside. From 2017-20, he played 65.3%, 78.0%, 47.6%, and 30.8% of his snaps on the outside. In 2020, he was primarily a slot weapon, lining up on the inside for 69.2% of his routes run. For his career, Cole has had a 44.9%/55.1% split between the slot versus the outside.

Cole is an excellent contested-catch target despite his smaller frame. From 2018-20, he caught 19 of 29 targets that were deemed “contested” by Pro Football Focus, a rate of 65.5% that led all qualified wide receivers over that span. Cole’s new Jets teammate Corey Davis ranked fifth at 62.5%.

Cole presumably slides in as the fourth wide receiver on the Jets’ depth chart for the time being, sitting behind Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, and Corey Davis.

Earlier in the day, the Jets were rumored to be in discussions with JuJu Smith-Schuster. One would assume that the wide receiver room is too crowded for Smith-Schuster at this point, but with Crowder’s contract being easily escapable, it’s still possible the Jets could add the boom-or-bust young wideout.

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