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Jets Free Agency Preview: WRs/TEs

Green & White Wideouts Struggled in '16 but Built a Foundation for the Coming Season


The Jets were ready for Year 2 of a passing game powered by Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing to Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. That lasted for two games, with both wideouts grabbing six passes for 100-plus yards in the Week 2 road win at Buffalo. Decker played one more game, then went on IR with two injuries that required surgery. Marshall, who broke several bedrock franchise receiving records in '15, had his fewest receptions (59) and tied for his fewest touchdowns (3) in his last 10 seasons.

The struggles at the position at least enabled a number of young WRs to gain valuable experience. Quincy Enunwa led the offense with 587 yards and four TDs on 58 catches. Robby Anderson (42-587-2) emerged as a rookie free agent find. Seventh-rounder Charone Peake and rookie FA Jalin Marshall made contributions. Devin Smith, after a year of rehabbing his knee injury, returned to action in the final month.

Tight end continued to be used primarily as a blocking position, which worked out OK in Chan Gailey's first year as OC, not so well last season. In 2015-16 combined, Jets TEs had 26 receptions for 268 yards — the lowest totals by an NFL team at the position in back-to-back seasons in two decades. Before and after Kellen Davis' midseason move to IR, several TEs contributed: Brandon Bostick played in all 16 games with seven starts, while Austin Seferian-Jenkins, despite several injuries, and Eric Tomlinson, signed off the Texans' practice squad in November, played in seven games each.

Jets Free Agents
The Green & White have no wide receivers who can test the free agency market next month. TE Kellen Davis is a pending unrestricted FA and Brandon Bostick can become a restricted FA.

The Market
Alshon Jeffery, whom the Bears kept while trading Marshall to the Jets, can become a free agent. Other potential UFAs, all coming off 1,000-yard seasons, are Kenny Britt, Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Terrelle Pryor (who has said he wants to stay with the Browns) plus Victor Cruz, recently released by the Giants.

At tight end, Martellus Bennett, who describes himself as "just a blue-collar football player ... I like to kick butt" and is coming off a Super Bowl season with New England, can become free, as can Jordan Cameron (concussion issues, most recently last year with Miami), Vernon Davis, Jared Cook and Jack Doyle.

Top Photos of the Second-Year WR During the 2016 Season

WRs coach Karl Dorrell got great production from his unit in 2015 and helped the group stay together and gain experience in '16. The wideouts should have a good foundation to build from this season. TEs coach Jimmie Johnson has shown over the years he can coach his position regardless of what it's asked to do, and new OC John Morton, although he has specialized in coaching WRs, has seen what top-10 TE groups can contribute to an offense, whether under Jon Gruden or more recently with the Niners and Saints.

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