The New York Jets’ NFL draft haul from the weekend might have changed the 2021 outlook for some of their veteran returnees.
The New York Jets‘ draft weekend has come and gone. A new beginning awaits nine new draftees, in addition to over a dozen undrafted signings.
But these new beginnings for some could lead to the end for others—at least in a New York setting. The first four picks could lead to some additional changes on the Jets’ beleaguered offense, ones that could bid farewell to a few staples from recent seasons.
WR Jamison Crowder
Jamison Crowder has been far and away the Jets’ most potent offensive weapon over the last two seasons and has developed himself into one of the most reliable slot receivers in the league.
But the Jets have now made slot additions through both free agency (Keelan Cole) and the draft (second-rounder Elijah Moore), which has led to some awkward conversations surrounding his 2021 status. The conversations only intensify once the fact that the Jets would save over $10 million in cap space upon his departure comes up.
General manager Joe Douglas apparently saw the post-draft cloud hovering over Crowder, as he told the media that Moore wasn’t drafted to oust him. But the savings Crowder’s hypothetical departure would bring might be a little too much to pass up, as the Jets have several post-draft needs to fill.
A trade could be the perfect way to go about potentially bidding him farewell, as the Jets would not only get the cap savings but Crowder has the makings of being the proverbial “one weapon away” for a contender (i.e. Baltimore/LA Chargers).
LG Alex Lewis
In a welcomed departure from the negligent Mike Maccagnan era, Douglas has made it clear that he values the offensive line. Upon taking office in the late stages of the 2019 offseason, one of his first moves was to send a draft pick to Baltimore to acquire Alex Lewis.
The former fourth-round choice played his way into a three-year extension and worked his way into the starting lineup, but struggled with the rest of a completely revamped unit (Mekhi Becton notwithstanding). Lewis eventually ended the season on the non-football injury list, ending a disappointing 2020 campaign.
Greg Van Roten could get another chance after adjusting to right guard last year, but the arrival of Alijah Vera-Tucker possibly starts the countdown for Lewis, as does the $5-6 million in cap savings due upon his release or trade.
RB La’Mical Perine
The addition of the accomplished, Super Bowl-participating Tevin Coleman allowed the Jets to be patient when it came to running backs in Cleveland. Coleman will likely get the primary reps while the Jets groom a trio of young projects behind him.
One of those projects is La’Mical Perine, a fourth-round selection from the virtual draft in 2020. Trapped behind Adam Gase‘s fascination with Frank Gore, Perine lost more time at the end of his rookie season thanks to injuries and a positive COVID-19 test.
Perine’s rookie year could well be a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some view Saturday’s opening choice, Michael Carter of North Carolina, as a better fit for offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur‘s vision. Ty Johnson and Josh Adams are also in the mix.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
I’m not sure the Jets are in a rush to cut Crowder this year, even if Moore is obviously his eventual replacement. Moore still needs to prove himself at this level, the Jets aren’t pressed for cap space, there’s always the prospect of injuries, and I’m sure LaFleur can find ways to use both in certain situations this year. Maybe they trade Jamison if they get a solid offer…a player or a pick, something more than the proverbial late rounder.
Alex Lewis is another matter. LG wasn’t exactly a position of strength last year when Lewis was in, and we’re not even sure what his non-football problem was that caused him to miss several games. AVT is certainly the starting LG now, so Lewis might be expendable, which would save us about $5M on the cap to roll into next year.
The additions of Coleman and Carter definitely put Perine on the bubble. He, Johnson, Guerrero and Adams can fight it out for roster spots.
These are far from the only players on thin ice. That’s especially true in the secondary, where we have like 15 young corners vying for maybe 6 or 7 spots, one of whom — Hardee — is a virtual lock because of his ST role even if he never plays a down on D.
Cole in the slot is an alternative, splitting Moore/ Cole in the slot is a plan.Need to get Crowder out of the division
Agreed. How about Crowder for Nick Foles? Sign Stephen Nelson at CB, and I guess we’re praying that out of the 20 or so candidates we have for RG, one of them is going to work out.