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Film Review: Is Courtland Sutton a wise trade target for NY Jets?

Courtland Sutton
Courtland Sutton

The Denver Broncos’ top receiver is an underrated trade option for the New York Jets

Buried in a poor cap situation, the Denver Broncos could look to shed salary this offseason by shipping off some of their best players. For this reason, wide receiver Courtland Sutton may become available in the next few months as a trade option for the New York Jets.

Sutton is 28 years old and has two years for $34 million remaining on his contract. Sutton and Nathaniel Hackett obviously have some familiarity from the 2022 season when they were both with the Broncos, which helps.

There are many big-name WRs who could potentially be available this offseason. Believe it or not, Sutton would be one of the best fits across from Garrett Wilson.

Sutton is a real red zone threat. He’s 6-foot-4 with a great catch radius, giving him elite ability on contested catches. His skill set is similar to that of a Mike Evans type.

In 2023, Sutton was ninth-best out of 101 qualified receivers in contested catch rate at 57.1%, per PFF, catching 12 out of 21 contested targets. For reference – and obviously the QB play didn’t help – Garrett Wilson was 11 of 37 (29.7%) on contested targets and Allen Lazard was 4 of 17 (23.7%). This is where Sutton excels, and where he can make a big impact within an Aaron Rodgers-ran offense opposite of GW.

Also similar to Mike Evans, Sutton couples his size and contested catch ability with excellent route running. Per ESPN analytics, Sutton ranked fifth in Open Score out of 109 qualifying WRs. Showcasing his hands, he also ranked 23rd in Catch Score.

Sutton even offers some versatility in where he can line up, as he lined up in the slot on 21.7% of his snaps.

Thanks to all of these abilities, Sutton was an extremely QB-friendly target for Russell Wilson. Sutton generated a 124.5 passer rating when targeted, which was sixth-best in the NFL out of 102 WRs.

His stats from 2023 are pretty impressive,, but does the film match up?

Clip #1

Unreal body control and catch here from Sutton on the TD. Sutton uses a little double move that the CB breaks on, but Russ is a little late with the throw. Sutton shows great body control in the air while being contacted, as he still brings the ball in with one hand while getting his knee down in bounds.  Just an unbelievable rep and an example of what he brings in the RZ.

Clip #2

Something that was consistently lacking in the Jets’ offense was a player you could count on to finish contested catches like this. It’s third-and-6 here and Sutton just big-bodies a great corner in L’Jarius Sneed. It shows how strong his hands are to finish the catch through the pass interference call.

Clip #3

Elite job of high-pointing the ball here. Russ just throws the ball up to him and he makes a great high-point catch in the end zone. Again, you see what Sutton’s strengths are, and they are really strong strengths. His catch radius is elite and he has the ability to make just about any catch. 

Clip #4

It should be noted that Sutton is also a good route runner. Here he is running a deep over route against a good CB in Greg Newsome and effortlessly gets a massive amount of separation. A better throw here and it’s a walk-in touchdown, as the Browns are in a zero blitz, but his speed and ability to separate are still on full display.

The bottom line for the Jets is that there are slowly becoming fewer and fewer realistic WR options for them to pursue in free agency. A big move is going to be necessary to make at some point. Sending a mid-round pick for Sutton is a move I would fully be behind.

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