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Kearse Led a Transformed WR Group

Enunwa’s Return Could Bolster Intriguing Unit in 2018


On the Active Roster in 2017 (GP/GS, Offensive Snaps)Jermaine Kearse (16/14, 879), Robby Anderson (16/15, 810), Chad Hansen (15/0, 341), Jeremy Kerley (8/2, 277), ArDarius Stewart (15/2, 231), Charone Peake (3/0, 28), JoJo Natson (7/0, 21), Kalif Raymond (2/0, 0), Jalin Marshall (0/0, 0), Lucky Whitehead (0/0, 0). Injured Reserve: Quincy Enunwa (0/0, 0), Devin Smith (0/0, 0), Brisly Estime (0/0, 0).

Potential Free Agents in 2018
Restricted: Quincy Enunwa, Lucky Whitehead.

(RESERVE/FUTURE SIGNING: Jalin Marshall (reserve/susp 4 wks, active roster 5 days, PS last 10 weeks), Tre McBride (PS/Inj last 4 weeks), Damore'ea Stringfellow (PS all 17 weeks), Daniel Williams (PS final week)

Last Season in Review
Entering training camp, the Jets had a very different landscape at wide receiver than the previous two years. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker had been the team's starting tandem in 2015-16, but they were both let go in the offseason. As a result, Quincy Enunwa, who had a breakout 2016 season with career highs in receptions (58) and yards (857), entered as the Jets No. 1 option with second-year undrafted free agent Robby Anderson right behind him. That would quickly change as Enunwa landed on injured reserve in August after he suffered a neck injury during the Green & White practice at MetLife Stadium.

Nine days before the regular season, general manager Mike Maccagnan traded for Seahawks wideout Jermaine Kearse in exchange for defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson and a second-round pick. Kearse finished the year with career highs in catches (65, which paced the team) and yards (810). The sixth-year veteran's five touchdowns tied a career high set in 2015. More than that, the 6'1", 209-pound Kearse provided mentorship for a young group that featured Anderson, who excelled in his second year.

"Just hard work, staying committed and trusting the process," Kearse said of his success. "Though I did have career highs, my main focus is trying to win as many football games as we can. I have something to be proud of and build off of and I'm looking forward to next year to build off of that and hopefully add some wins to those numbers."

Anderson led the Jets with 941 yards and seven touchdowns on 63 receptions. The speedster registered 17 receptions of at least 20 yards and proved to be more than just a vertical threat as he utilized his speed on the underneath routes as well.

The receiver room also contained a pair of rookies, ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen, who were selected in the third and fourth rounds of the 2017 draft. Stewart and Hansen mostly served special teams roles until later in the season and they combined for 176 yards on 15 catches.

Looking Ahead
While both Kearse and Anderson are under contract, the soon-to-be 26-year-old Enunwa intends to return from neck surgery and is a restricted free agent.  Both Hansen and Stewart could be in a positions for significant playing time depending on how the offseason shakes out.

One of the top free agent options is expected to be Dolphins wideout Jarvis Landry, who has recorded over 100 catches in two of his last three seasons. An interesting name to keep an eye on is the Jaguars' Allen Robinson. Robinson is a big target at 6'3", 211, but he's coming off an ACL injury. If the Jets choose to add some pass catchers through the Draft, some of the top names as of now are Calvin Ridley (Alabama), Christian Kirk (Texas A&M) and Courtland Sutton (SMU).

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