The New York Jets now have a roster hole to fill with the release of Braxton Berrios
Count wide receiver in the list of New York Jets roster needs after the release of Braxton Berrios.
While there is widespread speculation that Corey Davis could be the next cap casualty at receiver, as of now, the hole is at the WR4 spot.
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There’s certainly a possibility that the Jets try to replace that spot in the middle rounds of the draft. However, with the $5 million in cap space that the team cleared through Berrios’s release, there are definitely some intriguing replacement options on the free-agent market.
Here are some possibilities for the Jets to fill their WR4 spot at a decent price.
Olamide Zaccheaus, Falcons
Berrios played 60.8% of his snaps out of the slot in 2022, which means that the Jets could look for a direct WR4 replacement in that area.
However, it’s important to note that he entered the season as the Jets’ WR3 and starting slot receiver, not necessarily their primary backup receiver. It’s not a given that the team will go in the same direction for his replacement.
Zaccheaus actually matched Berrios’s splits almost exactly, playing 60.9% of his snaps from the slot. He put up 40 receptions for 533 yards and three TDs for the Falcons last season.
While Zaccheaus is not the fastest receiver in the world (4.49-second 40-yard dash at 5’8 1/4″ and 194 pounds), he still boasts impressive elusiveness. Zaccheaus forced seven missed tackles on 40 receptions, a 0.175 rate of missed tackles forced per touch that ranked ninth out of 68 qualified receivers (min. 60 targets). He also ranked 11th with 5.1 YAC per reception.
Zaccheaus was surehanded in 2022. He tied for 13th among receivers (with Garrett Wilson) with a 2.4% drop rate. However, he posted drop rates of 9.1% and 8.8% in 2020-21, giving him a career 6.0% rate, which is worse than the league average (which usually hovers at around 5.3-5.5% for receivers).
Zaccheaus also posted a decent Receiver Score via ESPNAnalytics, rating 54 overall, which was 53rd out of 111 qualified receivers and tight ends. His 58 catch score was 42nd, while his 54 open score was 60th. He may not be a world-beater, but he would be a solid WR4 addition.
Spotrac projects a modest deal of two years at a $3.7 million average annual value for the 25-year-old Zaccheaus. This would definitely be an affordable price for the Jets.
Darius Slayton, Giants
Rather than projecting Darius Slayton as a WR2 and possible replacement for Corey Davis, he fits better as a fourth receiver. This is largely due to his uneven resume and major drop tendencies, as well as the fact that he was the beneficiary of a great scheme from Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka rather than a creator himself.
Slayton is not a slot receiver. He played 71% of his snaps outside in 2022. This might be preferable for the Jets, though, as they look for Corey Davis insurance due to his propensity for injuries.
Slayton put up 1.79 yards per route run in 2022, which ranked 28th out of 68 qualified receivers (60th percentile). His 13.8% drop rate, though, could scare any takers off.
The most intriguing part of Slayton’s game is his deep-play ability. He caught 5-of-11 deep targets (45.5%, 20th out of 73 receivers with at least 10 deep targets) for 192 yards (33rd) and a touchdown on targets of 20+ yards, although he did have two drops. He went 2-for-2 on contested deep targets.
Slayton put up a 53 receiver score from ESPN Analytics. His 67 open score tied for 22nd, but his 30 catch score was seventh-worst.
Slayton is still just 26 years old and has a modest Spotrac projection of two years and $3.5 million AAV. He’s definitely worth a try at that price, especially because the Jets could use a deep threat.
Parris Campbell, Colts
Parris Campbell put up 63 receptions for 623 yards and three touchdowns for the lowly Colts in 2022. He played 82% of his snaps from the slot and was in the 66th percentile among receivers with a 4.5% drop rate. However, Colts QBs threw six interceptions in his direction on 85 targets, which makes a dig into the film necessary to determine whose fault those picks were.
Campbell did rank sixth among WRs with 0.206 missed tackles forced per target and 28th with 4.5 YAC per reception. However, his 1.03 yards per route run ranked second-to-last among qualifiers.
ESPN Analytics didn’t think that highly of Campbell, either, as he was ranked the 12th-worst out of 111 pass-catchers with a 37 receiver score. The worst part of that was a 36 open score, which is terrible out of a slot receiver.
However, Campbell’s projected one-year, $2.5 million deal makes him a possibility for the WR4 spot.
Mack Hollins, Raiders
Mack Hollins would be a veteran outside WR for the Jets. He put up 57 catches for 690 yards and four TDs with Derek Carr in 2022. His projected deal of one year and $2.4 million is very low-end for a productive receiver in 2022. He is 29, which could be part of the reason.
The big ouch for Hollins is his drops. He had a 6.6% drop rate in 2022, which was by far the best mark of his career. His career drop rate is 11%, and it’s gone as high as 17.6% in 2021 (albeit on only 28 targets).
The Jets aren’t looking for players with the dropsies.
Hollins actually graded out fairly well at ESPN Analytics, though. His overall 60 score was tied for 39th, and his 60 catch score was tied for 20th. His 54 catch score tied for 63rd, though.
Hollins also put up 1.14 yards per route run in 2022, which was tied for the ninth-worst among qualified WRs. While he was playing on a team with Davante Adams, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfroe, he was often Derek Carr’s second target due to injuries to Renfroe and Waller.
Again, at this price, he might be worth a shot.
Robert Woods, Titans
The Titans released Robert Woods as part of a cap-clearing crusade. Woods is coming off an unproductive season the year after suffering an ACL tear with the Rams.
Believe it or not, Woods actually ranked 17th in ESPN Analytics’s Open Score with a mark of 71. However, he was the ninth-worst in catch score (34), which brought his total score down to 51 (60th).
Woods had 1.14 yards per route run in 2022, which tied with Hollins for ninth-worst among receivers.
He is also 30 years old, which is usually the downside of a receiver’s career. However, he is known as a good blocker and could still be worth a shot.
Spotrac does not list a projected market value for Woods. However, given his age and lackluster 2022 season, he can likely be had for a bargain basement value.
Chosen Anderson, Cardinals
While there are plenty of flaws in the former Jets receiver’s game, the one skill he unquestionably offers is speed. Anderson is a legitimate deep threat who can win vertically with the best of them. The Jets lacked a receiver of that ilk in 2022.
Anderson averaged an impressive 14.8 yards per reception over his four-year career with the Jets, ranking 16th out of 74 qualified wide receivers over that span (min. 200 targets).
Curiously, Anderson was used more conservatively by the Panthers and Cardinals, averaging only 11.3 yards per reception over the past three seasons. That ranked just 65th out of 80 qualifiers (min. 130 targets).
Jets fans are well aware of Anderson’s struggles with contested catches and route-running. Those weaknesses limit Anderson’s potential as a starter. But as the Jets’ WR4, Anderson could play a situational role in which he focuses solely on doing what he does best: burning defenders vertically.
A reunion isn’t such a bad idea if the Jets can carve out a specific role for Anderson that suits his skill set.
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