The New York Jets will enter the 2019 offseason with second highest total salary cap space in the NFL (behind only the Colts). This being said, fans should expect GM Mike Maccagnan to spend big and begin filling some of the holes on the current roster.
As the Jets enter free agency, one of the biggest holes remains at the wide receiver position. The Jets will need to add talent and depth to their offense in order for Sam Darnold’s development to accelerate. And while the free agent wide receiver class isn’t necessarily stacked, there are certainly a few names the Jets should have on their radar:
Golden Tate – Philadelphia Eagles
While age is certainly a factor to consider when evaluating Tate (age 30), it’s still without a doubt that he may very well be the top free agent wide receiver available.
After being traded from Detroit to Philadelphia late last year, the quick release wide receiver saw a bit of a decline in his overall performance. However, it is still evident that Tate has the ability to be the No.1 target on a team, something the Jets would love to give Darnold.
More over, the Jets will hope to start transitioning Darnold into a more quick-pass type offense, where Tate has excelled over the course of his career. He remains as one of the premier YAC receivers in all of the NFL.
Chris Conley – Kansas City Chiefs
If you know the Jets, you know that their offense has been quite terrible the past few years. Specifically speaking, you know the struggles the Jets have faced when entering the red zone (ranked 30th in red zone scoring in 2018). How do you improve on that?
Enter Chris Conley, a young, big bodied wide receiver who has dominated the red zone most recently with the Chiefs. Conley’s impressive mix of size, athleticism and after-catch ability may make him a seamless fit with New York’s offense.
And while there are certainly plenty of other names available via free agency this offseason, the Jets should realize that Conley has the potential to provide high return on investment, given New York is able to sign him on a cheap deal.
John Brown – Baltimore Ravens
Maryland’s deep ball threat, John Brown, is set to hit the open market this spring. While he hasn’t truly solidified himself as a major offensive threat, he certainly has the poise to do so. This being said, the Jets may appreciate a compliment to Robby Anderson.
As a big play receiver in Baltimore, Brown averaged 17 yards-per-reception in 2018. Though he has battled injuries and has struggled with drops (something the Jets know all too well about), Brown could be a solid option and target for Darnold in the passing game.
Tyrell Williams – Los Angeles Chargers
A tall, lengthy, physical receiver who has become known for his big play capability is an easy favorite for the Jets to go all in on.
His physical attributes allow him to be a vertical threat as well as someone in the short-yardage game – the perfect combination for a young Sam Darnold.
Adding a multifaceted receiver in Williams who can excel both outside and in the slot would certainly progress the Jets offense in ways we haven’t seen in quite some time.
Devin Funchess – Carolina Panthers
A former second round pick, Funchess never truly lived up to the hype during his tenure in Carolina. However, as a 24-year-old, big-bodied wide receiver, there should still be some optimism in his future.
Similarly to Conley, Funchess possesses the tools to be an immediate red zone threat, something the Jets will be hunting for this offseason. And seeing as how his numbers have been quite low as of late, he should be on the cheaper end of this WR class if the Jets decide to pursue him.
While other options may be more appealing, Funchess could be a valuable safety net for the Jets and Sam Darnold in 2019.