Finding a WR is still a must for the Jets

Remember when new Jets head coach Rex Ryan was telling anyone with a note pad and pencil how confident and comfortable he was about the Jets QB situation prior to the draft? About forty-five minutes into the draft all of that changed when the Jets moved up to the fifth overall pick and selected ex-USC QB Mark Sanchez to become the new face of the franchise.  Now Ryan is telling everyone how much he likes what he's seeing from the group of players vying to round out the receiving corps for the Jets.  This can only mean one thing.  Who will the Jets find to play catch with Sanchez?

 

There have been several big ticket WR's whose availability has been well known for quite some time now. The question for the Jets is are any of those WR's a good fit for their new Jet QB.

Probably the best of these WR's is Arizona's Anquan Boldin. Boldin would be the #1 WR on almost any other NFL team right now but in Arizona Boldin plays alongside Larry Fitzgerald, right now the best WR in the game.

Other WR's who should be on the Jets radar are Clevelands Braylon Edwards and ex-Giant Plaxico Burress.

Boldin, 29, has had some difficulty staying on the field, having missed 16 out of a possible 96 games, a full season out of six, but he's averaged 81+ yards receiving per game over his career. Acquiring Boldin would no doubt cost any team a heavy price tag both in terms of compensation and in salary.

Burress, 31, would become a great security blanket running under the bombs and end zone jump balls from Sanchez. He's averaged 61 yards receiving per game and unlike Boldin and Edwards Burress can be had without paying any compensation to another team for his services. Burress is a player loaded with talent but is also a player with a penchant for getting himself into trouble.

Burress would no doubt be signed to a contract loaded with behavioral incentives and for far less than the five-year $35M contract extension he signed with the Giants last year.

Burress is also still looking down the barrel of a possible five year prison sentence for carrying an illegal and unregistered firearm. If all of that wasn't bad enough Burress has also earned a deleterious reputation for being a poor influence in the locker room.

The other prominent WR whose name has been mentioned many times as being on the trading block is the Browns WR Braylon Edwards. Edwards, 26, the youngest of the three WR's, is 6'3" 215 lbs. He has both the size and speed to be a true #1 WR. Edwards had his best season to date back in 2007 when he had 80 catches for 1,300 yards and 16 TD's. In 2008 Edwards saw his numbers slip to 55 catches for 873 yds and only 3-TD's when the Browns QB play deteriorated this past season.

Toni Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes he thinks the Browns may in fact be willing to deal WR Edwards and his unhappy contract to the Jets in exchange for RB Thomas Jones and his unhappy contract plus some future considerations.

The Browns drafted Ohio St. WR's Brian Robiskie and Georgia's Mohammed Massaquoi. They signed ex-Lions WR Mike Furrey and ex-Patriots WR David Patten as well as undrafted WR's Brent Casteel, Jordan Norwood and Marlon Davis. In short, the Browns are stockpiling WR's.

The Jets also have a lot of bodies at the WR position but none besides Jerricho Cotchery has very much NFL experience. Next among the Jet WR's in terms of career catches is Brad Smith with 53 catches and Chansi Stuckey with 32 catches. In short after Jerricho Cotchery the Jets are very thin in terms of reliable WR's heading into training camp if things remain as they are today.

If the Jets do decide to make a deal for one of the three WR's mentioned above they should stay away from Plaxico Burress because his excess baggage far exceeds his talent. Anquan Boldin is the best player of the three but Arizona will want a lot for him in return and I don't see how the Jets can possibly afford Boldin's demands for a big contract extension after taking into consideration the Jets new salary cap with their new $20M QB.

The Jets could probably put together a talent package good enough to get Edwards here. Thomas Jones is due a $3M roster bonus in 2010 if he is still with the Jets, which means Jones last season with the Jets is either already in the books or will be at the close of the upcoming season. Mangini is said to be a big fan of Jones and his work ethic. If Tannenbaum is convinced that the Brian Westbrook light (Leon Washington) and newly drafted ex-Iowa RB Shonne Green can carry the load at the RB spot this year then Thomas Jones becomes expendable now instead of next year and should be dealt before a possible holdout starts Rex Ryans' first training camp off on the wrong foot.

If the Jets feel the compensation is too high for Edwards they should take a long hard look at Marvin Harrison. His skills may not be what they once were but his veteran leadership and skills as a WR can't do anything but help all the younger WR's on the Jets and he'd stop the defense from doubling up on Cotchery all the time, keeping the opponents defense honest.

The Jets have spent all kinds of money and invested multiple draft picks into many different spots on their roster, it makes no sense to leave one important part of the roster with such a gaping hole after paying such close attention to so many other fine details.

The Jets need to go get a WR, they don't need to blow up next years draft to get one but if things work out like the Jets hope next years first round draft pick should be a lot closer to the bottom of the first round then to the top.

 

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