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Jets’ $10 million choice: Is Jamison Crowder a keeper in new offense?

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — There have been occasions final season when it regarded like huge receiver Jamison Crowder was the one benefit of the New York Jets’ offense. He scored a team-high six touchdowns, twice as many as the following participant, and he capped his 12 months by throwing a landing in a Week 16 win in opposition to the Cleveland Browns.

Now there’s hypothesis he could possibly be a salary-cap casualty. Yeah, it is a chilly enterprise.

Crowder is weak as a result of his cap cost is a team-high $11.4 million, together with a non-guaranteed $10 million in base wage — a excessive quantity for a slot receiver. As a result of it is the ultimate 12 months of his contract, he is thought of an “easy” minimize as a result of his total base would come off the books. Which raises the query:

Does a group with loads of cap room (a projected $68 million, per Over The Cap) jettison its most efficient offensive ability participant simply because his cap cost is over market?

In a vacuum, the reply is a no brainer — preserve him — however you do not construct a profitable roster by working that method. Jets normal supervisor Joe Douglas performs hardball in the case of sustaining a price system, so it would not be a shock if he seems to re-invest that $10 million.

Douglas may attempt to improve at slot receiver with JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pittsburgh Steelers) or Chris Godwin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) in 2021 NFL free company; that will price critical cash. He additionally may go for a less expensive possibility, Kendrick Bourne (San Francisco 49ers), who spent the previous 4 years within the system the Jets are planning to put in. There’s additionally the potential for re-negotiating Crowder’s contract.

Crowder, who turns 28 on June 17, ranked seventh in receptions (91) and eighth in yards (1,094) on performs from the slot place over the previous two seasons, based on ESPN Stats & Data. That is fairly good manufacturing for a participant who missed 4 video games in 2020 due to soft-tissue accidents and handled inconsistency on the quarterback place. Former Jets coach Adam Gase remarked on quite a few events Crowder was their finest participant on offense.

All advised, Crowder completed with 59 catches for 699 yards — each group highs in 2020, however pedestrian numbers when considered by means of a wider lens.

In a bottom-line sense, Crowder’s numbers aren’t commensurate together with his pay. He has the third-highest cap cost amongst receivers who performed a minimum of 50% of their downs from the slot over the previous two years, behind the Cleveland Browns’ Jarvis Landry ($14.8 million) and the Seattle Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett ($13.4 million). Full disclosure: Landry’s time within the slot was 49.5%, per ESPN Stats & Information.

The draw back to slicing Crowder is it might depart the Jets with no confirmed gamers at receiver, simply promising, second-year participant Denzel Mims, backup slot receiver Braxton Berrios and a bunch of query marks. Berrios had a sneaky environment friendly season, catching 37 passes regardless of enjoying 290 snaps — a greater ratio than Crowder (59 catches in 590 snaps).

Crowder would supply personnel continuity by means of the transition to an offense underneath coach Robert Saleh, however that in all probability will not weigh closely within the choice. It is a new teaching employees with a brand new offensive system — a complete re-boot — and it’ll look to usher in its personal gamers. And you’ll wager there will probably be a big acquisition at huge receiver, whether or not it is by means of free company or the draft.

One other issue to contemplate is the function of the slot receiver in coordinator Mike LaFleur’s offense. For perception, let’s take a look at San Francisco, the place he spent the previous 4 years working underneath coach Kyle Shanahan. From 2017 to 2020, the 49ers’ huge receivers caught 258 passes out of the slot (twenty ninth), based on ESPN Stats & Information. The rating is a bit skewed as a result of the Niners obtained a number of slot manufacturing from star tight finish George Kittle. It is also value noting slot receiver Emmanuel Sanders was a key piece throughout San Francisco’s Tremendous Bowl run in 2019.

Good coaches discover methods to make use of good gamers, and Crowder is an efficient participant. Now they must determine if he is ok to pay $10 million.

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