Jamison Crowder helps the New York Jets forge a victory in 2021 debut
Last offseason, Joe Douglas donned a green Infinity Gauntlet and snapped his fingers, rendering the remnants of the New York Jets‘ 2018-19 seasons into dust. The purge started with Adam Gase and forced several other veterans who passed as metropolitan contributors over the last two seasons to seek new jobs.
Jamison Crowder seemed primed for purging, even as the closest thing to a potent offensive weapon over the last two seasons. His release would’ve fattened the Jets’ already sizable cap space and the Jets replenished their receiving corps with elite receiving talents of both the rookie (Elijah Moore) and veteran (Corey Davis, Keelan Cole) variety.
Even though Crowder was, numerically speaking, the Jets’ most potent and consistent offensive weapon in the doldrums of the Gase era (137 receptions, 1,532 yards, 12 touchdowns, all team-bests), it made sense symbolically and financially to move on from the 2015 draftee.
Yet, the Jets figured that Crowder still had a place in the first year of the Robert Saleh era. They were so convinced that they restructured the final year of the three-season deal that Crowder signed after arriving from Washington in 2018 to focus on the receiver’s desire for guaranteed money. Saleh himself said that Crowder “definitely” had a role even while he and Jets management were trapped in a contractual stalemate.
Crowder wound up missing each of his first three games under his new deal after a battle with COVID-19 followed by a groin injury. But when the time came to retake the field, he provided familiar production in a new offensive setting when the Jets battled the Tennessee Titans in Week 4 action at MetLife Stadium.
The afternoon’s headlines were dominated by a standout metropolitan defensive performance and the first win on rookie quarterback Zach Wilson’s ledger, but it was Crowder’s contributions that played the biggest factor. Crowder put in 61 yards on seven receptions, all but three of those yards coming during the Jets’ offensive surge in the second half.
Zach Wilson throws a sidearm FROZEN ROPE to Jamison Crowder for the TD 🔥✈️pic.twitter.com/2EzUePZdGp
— 𝙅𝙀𝙏𝙎 𝙈𝙀𝘿𝙄𝘼🛫 (@NYJets_Media) October 3, 2021
In the absence of a veteran backup quarterback, Crowder is, at first glance, a veteran contributor and offensive mind that Wilson can rely on as he tries to figure out the NFL landscape. He lived up to that billing and then some as the Jets erased a two-possession lead against the defending AFC South champions.
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When a trek set to tie the game threatened to go awry after Wilson fumbled a shotgun snap inside the Tennessee 35, it was Crowder who got open for a 29-yard gain. Two players later, Crowder was back in the end zone for his first score of the year; New York (1-3) never trailed after that. He’d later play a decent role on the Jets’ eventual winning drive, covering a three-yard third down that set Jets up inside the 10.
Saleh celebrated his first Crowder experience by revealing he had discovered a reliable source of veteran offense and stability.
“(He had) that big third-down conversion in overtime that I thought was going to end up getting us that win,” Saleh recalled, per notes from the Jets. “He’s reliable (in) one-on-one separating. When you have one of those security blankets and you know he’s going to be where he’s supposed to be, those guys are priceless.”
Crowder became the temporary aerial hero after his touchdown but was somewhat overshadowed by the antics of new teammate Corey Davis. The former Titan appropriately took over the proceedings with a game-high 111 yards, including a 53-yard scoring tally that sent MetLife Stadium into hysterics.
Though Davis’ name topped the receivers’ box score, he wanted to pass on the credit to the seasoned Crowder. Davis knew right from the get-go that Crowder’s return would afford him some on-field isolation, but the slot master’s contributions exceeded his expectations.
“Jamison was a huge piece in today’s win,” Davis said, per the New York Post. “For him to come back and handle business like he did, was huge for us.”
Crowder and the Jets return to action next Sunday morning in London against the Atlanta Falcons (9:30 a.m. ET, NFL Network).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags