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Might the Jets Stand Pat at Receiver?

Conventional wisdom says the Jets will go outside the organization for a receiver after the departure of Laveraneus Coles. Chansi Stuckey and David Clowney may have potential, but neither player is a proven starter. T.J. Houshmandzadeh would have been a perfect fit, but he is now locked up. If this team does not find a receiver in free agency, most speculate the Jets will invest in one early in the Draft. Otherwise, Jerricho Cotchery will be the only threat at receiver. After the acquisitions in the early free agent period, the Jets now have few needs aside from receiver. They may just go with a wideout if one they like falls to them in the first two rounds. However, this is no guarantee.

Rex Ryan has announced he wants the Jets to focus more on the run. There is good reason. The team has a great run blocking offensive line, arguably the game's best fullback, the AFC's leading rusher, and a change of pace back who averaged 5.8 yards a year ago. They also have no proven quarterback on the roster. This might be the reason the Jets were so willing to part with Coles. Considering the make up of the offense, the passing game might struggle no matter the starting receivers. Instead of paying Coles, who will only make a marginal difference if the quarterback play is suspect, the Jets decided to use that cap space to bolster other parts of the roster.

It resembles what the Bears did last season. They knew they would not have much of a passing game regardless so they did not overpay for receivers, allocating their cap room elsewhere. If one of the Jets' young quarterbacks emerges like Kyle Orton did, it is a bonus. If Stuckey and/or Clowney show themselves as capable starters, they have just inexpensively filled a hole. If none of this happens, this team will not be counting on the passing game anyway. It at least will have not wasted money in a futile effort to rebuild the passing game.

A few years ago, Rex Ryan saw the Ravens make that mistake. They took Mark Clayton early in the Draft and signed Derrick Mason to a lucrative deal, but neither player made a difference because Kyle Boller was the quarterback. This might factor into the thinking. Maybe the Jets do love the Draft class at receiver, but there is just as good of a possibility the team has decided to keep expectations low for the passing game and is leery of throwing money to address it.