New York Jets still have options at wide receiver after Amari Cooper trade
The New York Jets’ list of flashy options at wide receiver continues to dwindle. On Saturday, it was reported that the Dallas Cowboys had agreed to trade Amari Cooper and a sixth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for a fifth-round pick and a sixth-round pick.
The trade is now officially accepted, per source: Browns get WR Amari Cooper and a 6th, Cowboys get a 5th and a 6th.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2022
Cooper joins Chris Godwin (franchise tag), Davante Adams (franchise tag), Mike Williams (franchise tag) and Calvin Ridley (suspension) as hypothetical Jets big-fish targets who have already left the board.
Either way, there are still plenty of good options for the Jets to improve their wide receiver.
Jarvis Landry, Cleveland Browns (trade/cut candidate)
Following Cooper’s trade, it was reported that Jarvis Landry would likely leave the Browns through a trade or release. The Jets have already been mentioned as a possible suitor.
Reported this yesterday, but bears reiterating after the Amari Cooper trade: #Brunettes very likely to release Jarvis Landry, whose cap reaches $16.6 million in 2022.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) March 12, 2022
Following the Amari Cooper trade agreement, #Brunettes WR Jarvis Landry has permission to seek a trade, sources say.
—Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 12, 2022
Slated to turn 30 in November, Landry’s days as a 1,000-yard receiver are likely behind him, but he can still be a safe target.
In 2021, Landry caught 52 of 87 targets for 570 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games. He dropped just two passes, giving him a 3.7% drop rate that ranked 28th best out of 110 qualified wide receivers.
Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys (free agent)
Only one wide receiver on the Dallas Cowboys 2021 roster has a season under his belt in which he averaged 75.0+ receiving yards per game.
It wasn’t Amari Cooper.
It wasn’t even CeeDee Lamb.
No, it was Michael Gallup.
In 2019, Gallup showed an incredible ceiling. In 14 games, he caught 66 passes for 1,107 yards (79.1 per game) and six touchdowns as a sophomore.
It’s been downhill ever since. Gallup dropped to 52.7 yards per game in 2020 as he had to give up some targets to the incoming Lamb.
Now Gallup is entering free agency with its stock at an all-time low. He had an injury-riddled 2021 season in which he missed seven games with a calf strain, then later suffered a season-ending ACL injury in January. When healthy, Gallup averaged just 49.4 yards in nine appearances.
Gallup, 26, appears to have a strong chance of returning to Dallas. It was reported last week that he was close to signing a new deal with the Cowboys, and the space opened up by Cooper’s trade should help move things along.
The Cowboys have been working on a new deal with future free agent WR Michael Gallup and a deal is considered “close”, according to the sources. There is hope that both sides can pull it off and keep Gallup in Dallas.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 4, 2022
If Gallup becomes available, he offers an intriguing ceiling for the Jets or any team looking for wide receiver help.
Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals (free agent)
Unlike Gallup, Christian Kirk enters the market with its stock at an all-time high.
Kirk, 25, is coming off a career year that saw him catch 77 of 103 targets for 982 yards and five touchdowns in 17 games.
The best part of Kirk’s breakout year was his performance in 50-50 situations. Kirk was credited by Pro Football Focus with 12 contested catches of 17 contested targets, a 70.6% rate that ranked 10th best out of 110 qualified wide receivers.
Kirk is at his best in the slot machine. Moving him inside has been an enabler in his 2021 improvement. He’s run 79% of his routes out of the slot in 2021, a career high by a huge margin.
Only Cooper Kupp (1,402 yards) had more receiving yards than Kirk (772).
Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons (free agent)
As I broke down here, Russell Gage would solve one of the Jets’ biggest problems at wide receiver in 2021: their inability to beat men’s coverage.
The fourth-year man averaged 2.84 yards per throw against man coverage last season, which ranked eighth among 68 wide receivers to face at least 20 targets against the man blanket.
Gage’s target frequency versus man coverage proves how well he’s separated in man-to-man situations. He was targeted on 34.6% of his human coverage routes, which ranked third among qualified wide receivers behind only AJ Brown (36.1%) and DK Metcalf (39.2%). For your quarterback to trust you enough to get the ball often in isolated games, you need to be open.
The 2021 season has been a great year for 25-year-old Gage (who turned 26 in January). In 14 games, he caught 66 of 94 targets for 770 yards and four touchdowns, averaging a career-high 55.0 yards per game. It was the third straight year in which Gage set a new career high in yards per game.
Gage ranked 17th out of 110 qualified wide receivers with a stellar average of 1.96 yards per throw. This gives him a legitimate 1,000 yard edge if he gets more reps. Of the league’s 23 wide receivers to reach 1,000 yards in 2021, 12 of them average fewer yards per carry than Gage.
Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears (free agent)
Set to turn 29 in August, Allen Robinson enters free agency with his stock at an all-time low.
Robinson has the best cap of any player on this list. With three 1,100+ yard seasons under his belt, we know he can be a star. It’s just a matter of whether those days are over or if he has more star power left in the tank.
From 2019 to 2020, Robinson ranked fourth in the NFL in receiving yards (2,397) and receptions (200) while ranking 17th in receiving touchdowns (13). He was a stallion, recording back-to-back campaigns with 150+ targets, 98+ receptions, 1,110+ yards and 6+ touchdowns for the Bears. It’s “No. 1 receiver type stuff.
But in 2021, Robinson collapsed. In 12 games, he caught 38 of 66 targets for 410 yards and a touchdown. He set career lows in yards per target (6.2) and yards per game (34.2).
Robinson is a high ceiling, low floor option. Maybe he’s signing a one-year contract in a bid to improve his stock before returning to the market next year.
DJ Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars (free agent)
Like Michael Gallup, DJ Chark’s appeal is based on the potential he showed as a sophomore in 2019.
Back then, Chark caught 73 of 118 targets for 1,004 yards and eight touchdowns in 15 games.
Chark has declined since that breakout year. Over the past two seasons combined, Chark has caught 60 of 115 targets for 860 yards and seven touchdowns in 17 games.
The 2021 season ended prematurely for Chark due to a broken ankle in Week 4.
Still only 25 and set to turn 26 in September, Chark is another player on this list that offers plenty of upside.
Cedrick Wilson, Dallas Cowboys (free agent)
Cedrick Wilson has an intriguing upside based on his outstanding performance in a limited role for Dallas.
Wilson has played just 46% of Dallas’ offensive snaps in 16 appearances in 2021. In that limited span, Wilson was able to snag 46 catches on 61 targets for 602 yards and six touchdowns.
Averaging 9.9 yards per target, Wilson ranked eighth in the category among wide receivers with at least 60 targets, one spot behind Tee Higgins and two spots behind Cooper Kupp.
Wilson ranked 35th out of 110 qualified wide receivers with an average of 1.74 yards per throw. For perspective, it’s the same average Corey Davis and Robert Woods had in 2021, while it’s only a hair behind Jaylen Waddle (1.75). There’s a chance he could be something special in a bigger role.
You’ll want to play Wilson in the slot machine. He led all qualified wide receivers in 2021 with 90.2% of his routes out of the slot. Wilson carries a fairly light 197-pound frame but is rather tall for the slot at 6-foot-2.