Why letting Robby Anderson go was a mistake

With this being the first offseason for Joe Douglas as the head man for the Jets, we are continuing to find out what his philosophy is to build a team. He has had a price in mind for free agents and has refused to go above his offer which is refreshing after Mike Maccagnan continued to throw out large contracts. We’ve also seen that Douglas has thrown a bunch of one-year deals to players to maintain cap flexibility and build the core of the franchise through the draft.

There is no doubt that Joe Douglas has been on fire to this point in free agency but he may have just made the first puzzling move in his tenure as general manager. The moves to bring back Jordan Jenkins, Brian Poole and Alex Lewis on team friendly deals while also signing high upside players in Connor McGovern and Pierre Desir to really nice deals are great but not re-signing Robby Anderson was a mistake and leaves the Jets in a hole.

Earlier today, the former standout wide receiver at Temple signed a two-year deal worth $20 million with $12 million guaranteed to reunite with former Temple HC Matt Rhule and pair up with Teddy Bridgewater. Anderson was the best receiver left on the market after Amari Cooper re-signed with Dallas and Emmanuel Sanders signed with New Orleans opted for Carolina.

Coming into the offseason, there were numerous reports that Anderson would be coveted for somewhere between $14-16 million a year but the market for receivers dried up quickly. The contract Anderson ultimately ended up fetching, Douglas and the Jets should have been all over it.

Joe Caporoso of TurnOnTheJets.com sums it up perfectly in pair of tweets. The only acceptable reason for Anderson departing is that he preferred to play for Matt Rhule as opposed to Adam Gase, in which case there is nothing the Jets could have done (though they should have hired Matt Rhule a year ago).

More wise words from Caporoso

I will never argue that Anderson is a top 10 or even top 15 receiver in the league but when you look at the deal he signed for, the remaining receivers on the roster and the state of the remaining free agents available, this was less than ideal.

With Anderson departing for the Panthers, the remaining wideouts with gang green are:

  • Jamison Crowder (solid slot receiver)
  • Quincy Enunwa (injured)
  • Josh Bellamy
  • Vyncint Smith
  • Braxton Berrios
  • Josh Doctson
  • Jeff Smith
  • Josh Malone
  • Keon Hatcher
  • Jehu Chesson

Now with Anderson no longer with the green and white, Crowder is the only receiver to have who caught for more than 225 yards in 2019- again, not ideal.

Across his four seasons in the NFL, Robby Anderson has only accumulated a little over 3,000 yards and has had an 100-catch season or 1,000 yard season so by no means is he a “WR1.” Heck, he didn’t even lead the team in yards, touchdowns, or catches in 2019.

The problem lies in replacing the wide receiver, the deep threat and the chemistry he had developed with young quarterback Sam Darnold.

The best receivers left on the market are:

  • Breshad Perriman
  • Tajae Shape
  • Demarcus Robsinson
  • Paul Richardson
  • Geronimo Allison
  • Ted Ginn
  • Taylor Gabriel

The only appealing options are Breshad Perriman, Tajae Sharpe and Demarcus Robinson but none of them really move the needle much for New York. Douglas should have taken two or more receivers before today but now he almost has to and now may need to use the 11th pick on a dynamic playmaker. You do not want to be in a position where you have to rely on second and third round players to produce.

Ultimately, the decision not to re-sign Anderson leaves them to decide between a foundation at wide receiver or offensive tackle. Jason Peters and Trent Williams are still on the market via free agency or trade and would allow Douglas to draft whoever their top receiver in the draft is but neither are long terms options but they are easily better options than the pass catchers still out there. In the case where they do elect to draft one of the top four offensive tackles, Darnold would be left with a receiving group most likely comprised of two rookies, Crowder with Berrios, Vycint Smith, Doctson, Enunwa and a rookie battling for WR3. Again, not ideal.

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