Since the second day of the draft — when the Jets selected WR Elijah Moore in Round 2 — there have been whispers among Jets fans and stories by the reporters that maybe Jamison Crowder's time in green and white would soon be over. The talk of the last week that Crowder's agent and the team were renegotiating his contract didn't do anything to stop that buzz.
But two people who know best say that's not what Crowder and the Jets are thinking, at least for the coming season. And those two are head coach Robert Saleh and Crowder himself.
"You've just got to realize this is a business," Crowder said after his contract issue was resolved and he returned to practice in a limited capacity at the start of the Jets' mandatory full-squad minicamp. "I spoke with my agent for a while about things. It is what it is. Its a business, I'm here now. I'm just out there now trying to get a connection with the quarterback and hep the offense."
"I'm really excited," Saleh said in discussing the seventh-year wideout's return to the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center for his third year with the team. "I think he's going to be fantastic in this system, and it gives him the opportunity to showcase what he's done his entire career and that's make plays."
Crowder concurred with his new head coach.
"We got things worked out, so that's kind of my mentality now," he said. "I just want to get back out on the field and start making plays. I'm here now and I'm ready to rock 'n' roll."
There is no question Crowder is a play-making slot machine. He caught 221 passes for 2,628 yards and 14 touchdowns in four seasons with Washington. Then the past two years he led the Jets in receptions, receiving yardage and receiving TDs both seasons in totaling 137 catches for 1,532 yards and 12 TDs.
A highlight game showcasing his versatility was the Game 15 home win over Cleveland, when he threw a 43-yard TD strike to Braxton Berrios, caught a 30-yard TD from Sam Darnold and mixed in a 14-yard rush.
A third season with the Jets seemed in jeopardy, though, with the arrival of Moore, a similarly talented playmaker for Ole Miss, with the draft's 34th overall pick.
But Crowder shrugged off that news and instead is focusing on what it can all mean for the season ahead.
"He's a heck of a ballplayer," Crowder said, adding of the Jets offense, which has struggled the past two seasons,. "I definitely think we can get things right with the offense, everybody can eat, and we can have a successful season. I've been on an offense before with three or four really talented guys. I've been in a system where we have a lot of talent."
See the Best Images of the Jets on the Field During Minicamp Practice No. 1
The Jets WR room suddenly appears to have stocked up on talent, adding veterans Corey Davis and Keelan Cole to returnees Denzel Mims, Berrios, and now Crowder. And Crowder likes the little he's seen up close of his new quarterback, rookie Zach Wilson. And as far as the system, they're all playing in coordinator Mike LaFleur's West Coast offense. Since Crowder began his pro career in then-Washington OC Sean McVay's West Coast scheme, he's comfortable in the concepts and just has to learn the new terminology.
Top it all off with Saleh's coaching approach and Crowder is, as he says, "ready to rock out."
"I'm looking forward to playing under Coach," he said of the One Jets Drive vibe the past few days. "It's a different feeling, a different atmosphere — I like it. Today I could feel that. There's a little different pop to it, a little different bounce."
Saleh returned the compliment with what he envisions for the offense now that No. 82 is back in the fold.
"Jamison's a pro," the coach said. "He's had a lot of success in this league and he's still young, 28 years old, I believe. [Crowder turns 28 this week.] And he's going to have success here. I don't get into contract stuff with players, that's not my role. But I do believe that, if he performs the way we all think he will, what happens this year is not even going to worry him. So we're excited to have him, excited to plug him in and see where this thing goes."