Mike Tannenbaum has conjured a “seemingly reasonable price” for the Jets to pay their 2021 breakout star
The receiver’s pending free agency will be one of the biggest game-changers of the Jets’ 2022 offseason endeavors after a breakout campaign earned him first-team All-Pro honors. Berrios led the league with an average kick return of 30.4 yards and bloomed into a reliable receiving target late in the year after injuries decimated the Jets’ catching corps.
Berrios is reportedly seeking a yearly salary of circa $9 million, only raising further questions over whether a metropolitan return trip makes good sense.
Speaking with Jets X-Factor, Tannenbaum laid out, in his mind, the proper terms and circumstances for Berrios’ return.
“As a special teamer, Berrios is amongst the best in the league,” the current ESPN analyst/insider said. “He was one of the best returners in all of football on KOR and PR and served value on the Jets offense as a serviceable and reliable slot.”
The expected return of Elijah Moore, Tannenbaum explains, will move Berrios back down the receivers’ depth chart.
“With Elijah Moore back from injury, Berrios will most likely be used as WR4 in addition to his return responsibilities,” Tannenbaum said. “If you statistically/contractually compare him to that of Cole Beasley from the Bills, with special teams value, a $4.5-5.0M APY [average per year] is a seemingly reasonable price for the Jets to pay.”
To that end, the 33-year-old Beasley was granted a four-year, $29 million contract from the Buffalo Bills in 2019, with $10.7 million of that tally fully guaranteed. That deal was signed after Beasley caught 65 passes for 672 yards, three touchdowns, and 39 first downs for Dallas in the 2018 season.
Beasley, who has become an effective target in the slot (setting career-bests with 82 receptions in each of the last two seasons), will have a $7.6 million cap hit for the Bills next season and some have pondered his potential release, which would save the team over $4 million in space.
Berrios prominently spoke about his pending journey into free agency during an interview with WFAN’s Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney on Feb. 16. He stressed his desire to remain in green but reiterated several times that the decision isn’t “all in (his) control”. That statement was soon followed by optimism and faith in the team’s current path.
“I’ve expressed many, many times that I would love to come back and continue this program building with this team and with this coaching staff,” Berrios said.
“The Jets are heading in the absolute right direction. We didn’t have a tremendously better year last year than we did the year before … but when you go from a player’s perspective that has been in the facility and has been with the coaches and really just the overall feeling and the culture of the team was a complete 180 from the year before.”
The NFL’s legal tampering period begins March 14.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags