Corey Davis, NY Jets, Salary, Cut, Contract
Corey Davis, New York Jets, Getty Images

Releasing Corey Davis would probably not be a net positive move for the New York Jets

Wide receiver Corey Davis is commonly mentioned as one of the New York Jets‘ most likely cut candidates of the 2023 offseason. On his current contract, Davis is set to have a cap hit of $11.2 million in 2023, which is the final year of his three-year contract with New York. If the Jets release Davis, they will clear $10.5 million in cap space while only taking on $667K in dead money. It’s a very escapable contract.

On paper, this may sound enticing for a team that needs more cap space. However, the possibility becomes far less intriguing when considering what it might cost to find a replacement for Davis.

According to Patriots reporter Mike Reiss of ESPN, free-agent-to-be WR Jakobi Meyers is expected to command a contract in the range of $15 million to $20 million per year.

For comparison’s sake, here is a side-by-side look at Davis and Meyers’s per-game numbers over the past three seasons:

  • Davis: 3.6 catches for 55.9 yards, 2.8 first downs, and 0.31 touchdowns (Per 17 games: 61 catches for 950 yards, 47 first downs, and 5 touchdowns)
  • Meyers: 4.6 catches for 53.3 yards, 2.6 first downs, and 0.18 touchdowns (Per 17 games: 79 catches for 906 yards, 44 first downs, and 3 touchdowns)

Davis and Meyers are very similar players in terms of production. Yet, Meyers is likely about to earn a contract that averages somewhere from $4-9 million per year more than Davis’s projected cap hit in 2023.

That’s just the reality of the NFL’s booming wide receiver market. For a few years now, the going rate for wide receivers has been increasing each offseason. The general expectation each year is that any coveted free agent wide receiver will exceed the price that a player of the same caliber would have earned in the previous offseason.

For this reason, there is a lot of value to be had in wide receivers who are on the back end of a multi-year deal. When Davis signed his contract in 2021, it may have been seen as an overpay by some. Fast forward to today, and if you want to get a receiver of Davis’s caliber in free agency, it will cost you significantly more than Davis does.

This is why the Jets would be wise to keep Davis in 2023. Releasing Davis would be a net-negative move from a cap standpoint.

Cutting Davis would open up a new hole that needs to be filled, as the Jets do not have a viable in-house replacement to take his spot at no extra cost (no, Denzel Mims is not a realistic option to replace Davis). So, they’d have to look elsewhere to replicate his production.

If the Jets use the free agent market to replace Davis, they would likely have to spend more than Davis’s $11.7 million cap number to find a replacement who is similarly effective, which is obviously a negative move.

The cap-friendlier option would be to try and use the draft to replace Davis. This could lead to a fantastic outcome in the dream scenario that a rookie matches Davis’s production at a much cheaper cost.

However, the chances of a rookie receiver matching Davis’s production are not high, especially if the player is selected after the first round (it seems unlikely the Jets will draft a WR in round one this year). Consider: Over the past 10 seasons, there have been 50 wide receivers drafted in the second round, and only five of them averaged more than 55.9 yards per game (Davis’s 2020-22 average) in their rookie season. Even if you look at first-round rookies, only 12 of 42 have hit that mark over the past 10 seasons.

Keeping Corey Davis seems to be the wisest option for the Jets.

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at] - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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9 months ago

The statistics given here did not include drops. An earlier breakdown by Jetsxfactor showed that Davis had one of the worst drop rates, if not the worst, among the top free agent receivers available this year. Drops are not quite as bad as fumbles, but they are momentum killers and hurt offensive chemistry. If Davis was a number three or four receiver, that would be one thing, but for a starter pegged for a major role, a high drop rate is a disqualifier in my opinion. The Jets should not retain Davis.

Matt Galemmo
Matt Galemmo
9 months ago


You count on Elijah Moore to replace Davis’ ’22 production, and a combination of a rookie and in-house options to replace Moore’s.

Not unlike planning for in-house options to pick up for Lawson. For 25.5mm combined, it’s a decent gamble.

And I like Davis more than most and basically agree he’s a slight bargain.

Hey, that being true…maybe a trade?

Jonathan Richter
Jonathan Richter
9 months ago
Reply to  Matt Galemmo

Davis is 6’3″, 209. Moore is 5’10”, 178. They are not comparable players. What is missing from Nania’s stats is Davis’ impact in the running game. They should definitely keep him.

Matt Galemmo
Matt Galemmo
9 months ago

I want them to keep Davis. I want them to keep Lawson, too. They’re both useful players they would need to replace, but you consider letting them walk because there are viable ways to replace them while saving a lot of finite resources.

Moore does not need to replace Davis, he needs to replace his production. Doing so out of the slot is conceivable. Drafting a player or having an in-house option step up to replace Moore’s production out of the X/Z is conceivable.

When you start considering what holes need filling and what resources are needed to fill them, it may become evident that the resources have to go elsewhere…namely QB and offensive line, and maybe defensive tackle and safety.