The Jets have the option of replacing Laveraues Coles by acquiring a big name receiver like Plaxico Burress, Brandon Marshall, or Braylon Edwards. Replacing his production doesn't necessarily mean only one player has to carry the load, though. If the team does not acquire a receiver, the task can be spread over the skill positions.
As things stand, Dustin Keller stands to replace Coles underneath. For all intents and purposes, Keller is the second starting receiver on the roster. He is a matchup problem for most linebackers because of his quickness. With Coles gone, his chances should go up.
The same goes for Chansi Stuckey. Stuckey got off to a fast start a year ago. His chanches diminished near the end of the season as Keller emerged. With Coles gone, he will get more opportunities.
Ditto David Clowney. Clowney did not see the field much in 2008 but shined when he did with a memorable catch against the Bills and burning his man on a long route in a blizzard in Seattle. It may not be clear just how much Clowney can offer, but he can provide separation. That was sorely lacking a year ago from the team's receivers. Under a new coaching staff, he will have a chance to play more, which means more chances to use his speed. Even if he is a one-dimensional vertical threat, that will be a dimension the Jets lacked in 2008.
Leon Washington is a fourth Jet who will see more chances in 2009. Rex Ryan has stated his desire to see the team run more often and get Leon more touches. He should play an increased role in the passing game as the best receiver the team has out of the backfield. If given more of a chance, he will surely replace some of the big plays lost by cutting Coles.
The point is there are different ways to replace a player. The responsibility can be taken by one person or spilt among many. If Keller, Stuckey, Clowney, and Washington get more opportunities and continue to improve, they can combine to make up for what Coles brought to the table.