This offseason will be an important one for the New York Jets moving forward. They have already hired their new head man in Robert Saleh, and there is plenty of noise about the future at quarterback and a prospective trade for Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson, but the Jets are reportedly looking at making a splash at the wide receiver position as well.
On Tuesday, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that the Jets are taking a look at Pittsburgh Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster as well as Will Fuller of the Texans at the top of the free agent market. According to Fowler, the Jets will also reportedly look at "second-tier" options such as restricted free agent Zach Pascal of the Indianapolis Colts.
The Jets had the second-worst passing offense in the league last year, averaging 174.8 yards per game. Former No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold missed four games due to injury, and completed 59.6 percent of his passes for 2,208 yards, nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He went 2-10 as the starter for New York. Jamison Crowder was the Jets' leading receiver for the second year in a row, catching 59 passes for 699 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games. The Jets did go out last offseason and signed Breshad Perriman to try to make up for the loss of Robby Anderson, but he caught just 30 passes for 505 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games. The only wide receiver on roster who played in all 16 games was Braxton Berrios.
Smith-Schuster is inarguably one of the top wideouts who is looking for a new contract this offseason. The former No. 62 overall pick out of USC immediately stepped in as a talented complement to Antonio Brown, and then took over as the lead man following his departure. Smith-Schuster hasn't come close to his 2018 campaign, where he caught 111 passes for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns, but did bounce back after a lackluster 2019 season with 97 receptions for 831 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns in 2020.
Fuller is coming off of a bittersweet 2020 season. He stepped into the No. 1 role for the Texans after the franchise decided to send DeAndre Hopkins out west to Arizona, and put up career numbers all across the board with 53 receptions for 879 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games. Unfortunately, Fuller was suspended by the NFL in November for the rest of the season due to a PED violation. Even with the anticlimactic ending to his career year, Fuller proved his worth as a dynamic deep threat, and finally found a way to stay healthy.
Fowler also mentioned Colts wideout Zach Pascal in his report. His name won't turn heads like Smith-Schuster or Fuller, but he did have a career year with 44 receptions for 629 yards and five touchdowns in 2020. Pascal just turned 26 in December, and has performed well when given chances.
According to Over The Cap, the Jets have the third-most cap space available this offseason with $67,975,814. They certainly have the resources to woo a top wideout this offseason, to help whomever may be starting under center in 2021.