Robby Anderson, Amari Cooper
ESNY Graphic, Getty Images, AP Photo

Michael Nania presents his New York Jets 2020 free agent preview, this time, with a focus on the wide receivers. 

The New York Jets are razor thin at wide receiver. With Robby Anderson hitting free agency, the only receivers under contract that have played for the team are Jamison Crowder, Quincy Enunwa, Josh Bellamy, Vyncint Smith and Braxton Berrios.

Asking Sam Darnold to work with that core would be criminal. Over the next few months, adding two starting outside wide receivers will be an essential goal for Joe Douglas and the front office.

Here are four of the top names set to hit the free agent wide receiver market, each potentially a great fit to fill the Jets’ pressing need on the outside.

Robby Anderson

Key 2019 stats (ranks among all players): 779 receiving yards (44th), 5 receiving TD (44th), 34 receiving first downs (51st), 15.0 yards per reception (20th), 329 receiving yards on passes 20+ yards downfield (20th), 5.5% drop rate (35th/101 qualifiers), 11.3 air yards per reception (11th/83 WR qualifiers)

Anderson is one of the best deep threats in the league, possessing top-end speed with elite technique and tracking abilities to boot. His hands and intermediate route-running have come a long way. The numbers undersell him. He has had to deal with a carousel of quarterbacks and offensive coordinators, while anemic offensive line play has limited his deep opportunities to a minuscule amount.

Retaining Anderson is a must for the Jets. He has been developing a nice rapport with Sam Darnold over the last two years, and the roster is as sore for talent on the outside as any in the league. Anderson has a good chance to break out if he lands in a positive situation. The Jets need to make sure they are the team enjoying Anderson’s ascension, keeping faith in the idea that if they stay patient and build up the offensive line, Anderson will prove to be worth every last dollar.

A.J. Green

Key 2018 stats (ranks among all players): 9 games played, 77.1 receiving YPG (14th), 15.1 yards per reception (19th), 5.1 receptions per game (25th), 2.39 yards per route run (8th / 107 WR qualifiers)

A.J. Green missed seven games in 2018 with a toe injury. In 2019, he suffered torn ligaments in his ankle that were initially expected to keep him sidelined for only a short amount of time, but he ended up missing the entire season. Going on 32 years old, age and durability are major concerns for any team courting Green. However, he was still an elite player the last time we saw him on the field, averaging 85.9 yards per game in contests he played fully, and he was 30 at the time.

Amari Cooper

  • Former team: Cowboys
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted
  • Current age: 25.6
  • Spotrac Market Value: $19.7M

Key 2019 stats (ranks among all players): 1,189 receiving yards (8th), 8 receiving TD (9th), 54 receiving first downs (12th), 15.1 yards per reception (18th), 10.0 yards per target (9th), 2.29 yards per route run (8th / 102 WR qualifiers)

Cooper has brought the Cowboys offense to a new level since his arrival in late 2018. Surely, it is a top priority of Jerry Jones’ to make sure Cooper wears the star on his helmet for a long time. Things change quickly in this league, though. Until pen is put to paper, Cooper is out there on the free market. If he does somehow shake free of Dallas, the Jets need to strongly consider jumping to the forefront of the bidding war.

Joe Douglas, G.M. Joe T-Shirt

Breshad Perriman

  • Former team: Buccaneers
  • Free agency type: Unrestricted
  • Current age: 26.4

Key 2019 stats (ranks among all players): 645 receiving yards (62nd), 6 receiving TD (24th), 17.9 yards per reception (4th), 9.3 yards per target (22nd), 1.44 yards per route run (61st / 102 WR qualifiers)

Perriman was seldom used in the Tampa Bay offense early in the season, but finished the year as one of the hottest receivers in football. Over the final five weeks of the season, Perriman ranked third in receiving yards with 506 (101.2 per game) and tied for the league lead in receiving touchdowns with five. He averaged an incredible 13.7 yards per target over that span (league average: 7.2), second behind only A.J. Brown (13.8).

The former 2015 first-round pick of the Ravens made himself a lot of money with that stretch to finish the season. Some team is going to gamble on him. Will they get an extrapolation of what Perriman showed to finish 2019? Or will they get the guy who averaged a measly 22.2 yards per game over the first 42 appearances of his career?

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