And a need for a No. 1 wide receiver.
Douglas used a decent chunk of that cap space — but not a ton — on Monday night, when he agreed to sign Titans wide receiver Corey Davis.
Now, the big question lingers: Can Davis be a legit No. 1 receiver, regardless of who players quarterback for the Jets in 2021?
The contract, at least, is fairly reasonable — and surely not in line with what the Lions’ Kenny Golladay will get. The Jets, according to ESPN, are giving Davis a three-year, $37.5 million deal that includes $27 million guaranteed (though it’s not clear how much is fully guaranteed at signing).
Every team overpays to some degree in free agency, especially when they draft as poorly as the perpetually rebuilding Jets have in recent seasons. Only a contract’s nitty-gritty details — like guaranteed money structure — determine how egregiously a team overpays a free agent.
This is likely a two-year commitment, and the average value ($12.5 million per year) is not astronomical. The contract could be a win for Douglas, who has lots of other roster holes to fill. But it’s only going to be a win if Davis produces alongside Denzel Mims and Jamison Crowder.
That receiver trio might have to make life easier next season for a developing rookie quarterback, like BYU’s Zach Wilson — if the Jets trade Sam Darnold.
Is Davis ready to do that?
There’s a lot to like about him. He just turned 26 years old, so he’s still young. And he has good size, at 6-foot-3 and 209 pounds.
But Davis’ best yardage seasons are 891 in 2018 and 984 last season. His best touchdown seasons are four in 2018 and five last season. He was the fifth overall draft pick in 2017, and he hasn’t lived up to that so far. There’s a reason the Titans declined his fifth-year option for 2021.
That’s not to say Davis can’t continue to blossom with the Jets. But he had Ryan Tannehill as his quarterback in Tennessee. And in 2021 he’ll have a rookie or Darnold, who has struggled through three seasons — unless the Jets manage to trade for the Texans’ Deshaun Watson.
In terms of Pro Football Focus ratings, here’s where Davis ranked last season …
Overall: 8th (86.9)
Pass catching: 8th (87.2)
Drops (the higher position, the better): 17th (79.1)
Compare that to 2019, when Davis had PFF grades of 70.4, 70.6, and 72.4 in those three categories, respectively. So is he the guy who had a big season in 2020, during a contract year? Or the former first-round pick who hasn’t matched expectations?
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