Despite having a better season than expected, the New York Jets are in the market for vast improvement, especially on offense and specifically in upgrading the wide receiver position, looking at Jeremy Maclin and Emmanuel Sanders as their primary targets.
Geno Smith didn’t have the smoothest of rookie seasons, throwing only 12 touchdown passes in his 16 starts (compared with 21 interceptions). Of those 12 touchdown passes, only 7 went to wide receivers, which means 17 individual receivers had more touchdowns than those playing for the Jets.
Jeremy Kerley was the most productive of the receivers with 43 receptions for 523 yards, which shows you how bad things were. Santonio Holmes, catching 23 passes for 456 yards, was number two on that list, but he’s number one on the Jets to-release list, which will save them more than $8 million in salary cap money, helping them spend quite a lot in free agency if their plan was to have only one season of minimal spending.
Maclin was on his way to have a big 2013 season but tore his ACL and missed all of it. He caught 69 passes for 857 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2012, but because of his injury he should be reasonably priced, which will help the Jets do more than add just one to their dwindling receiving crops. Emmanuel Sanders wasn’t too explosive for the Pittsburgh Steelers last season, probably slightly disappointing with 67 receptions for 740 yards and 6 touchdowns. It’s still his most productive season in the NFL, but will help keep his price pretty low compared to what he expected to make last season looking forward.
The draft is also an option for the Jets, obviously depending on who falls their way. Guys like Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans will probably be taken off the board before we get to the Jets (18th overall pick), but Marqise Lee might still be available and if not him, than Brandin Cooks out of Oregon State, Kelvin Benjamin out of Florida State and Davante Adams from Freson State are all pretty good options to consider.