So what now for Jets general manager Joe Douglas, as he seeks a No. 1 receiver?
Well, Pro Football Focus has published its latest predictions for where its top 50 free agents will land. The No. 1 free agent (Lions receiver Kenny Golladay) heads to the Giants. The No. 5 free agent (Texans receiver Will Fuller) goes to the Colts.
And the No. 13 guy on this list (Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster) goes to the Jets, who get the third-best available receiver (at least according to PFF’s pecking order).
PFF predicts the Jets will give Smith-Schuster a four-year, $68 million contract, with $35 million guaranteed. And here’s the rationale for that projection:
Smith-Schuster is one of the riskiest bets in this free-agent class, and the Jets have been rumored to have significant interest in the wide receiver.
He produced the 16th-best receiving grade in the NFL playing primarily in the slot alongside Antonio Brown back in 2017 and 2018 — his first two seasons in the league. Once Brown departed before the 2019 season, Smith-Schuster was expected to hold his own become the focal point of the offense.
That, however, was not the case. He struggled with the extra attention and battled injuries throughout the year, recording a disappointing 63.1 PFF grade. Things were marginally better in 2020, with a PFF grade of 70.0 that ranked in the bottom half of the league.
Smith-Schuster doesn’t have to be a primary outside receiver to become a WR1, but the fact that he failed to win there following the departure of AB does him no favors.
The Jets could also be in the mix for Titans receiver Corey Davis, who is No. 14 on PFF’s list. PFF projects him to land with Washington.
As for other PFF top 50 free agents, the Jets are predicted to re-sign slot cornerback Brian Poole (No. 41), and bring in Steelers edge rusher Bud Dupree (No. 48) and Seahawks running back Chris Carson (No. 50).
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