While you were sleeping, the top two receivers in the 2018 free agent class signed. Neither of them joined the New York Jets.
Allen Robinson is reportedly signing a 3-year deal worth $42 million with the Chicago Bears, and Sammy Watkins reportedly agreed to a 3-year deal worth $16 million per year with the Kansas City Chiefs early Tuesday morning.
Robinson played in only one game last season after suffering a knee injury in the season opener. The Bears are inheriting some risk and betting on Robinson getting back to his 2015 production, when he caught 80 passes for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns. The potential is there for Robinson to establish himself as a consistent No. 1 receiver if Mitchell Trubisky can develop into a viable passer. Getting away from Blake Bortles and Jacksonville’s run heavy scheme can only help.
Watkins’ production is less impressive and he’s never been a favorite of mine. He caught only 39 passes but reeled in eight touchdowns as a starter for the Rams last season. Injuries have been more of a recurring concern for the former fourth overall pick of the Buffalo Bills.
I’ve always been of the mindset that the Jets needed to upgrade their weaponry at receiver. I thought Robinson would be a perfect fit as a true No. 1 threat to allure Kirk Cousins or serve as a legitimate weapon for an incoming rookie.
As of now, the Jets are in a tenuous position at receiver. Robby Anderson flashed last season, but has shown immaturity off the field. Quincy Enunwa broke out in 2016, but is a restricted free agent coming off a neck injury. Jermaine Kearse is a nice piece, but not someone worth building an offense around. ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen are developmental projects at this point and Devin Smith’s career is likely finished.
Even worse, the free agent pantry is barren of top pass-catching talent with Watkins and Robinson off the market. The best players available are Terrelle Pryor, Mike Wallace, Eric Decker, Taylor Gabriel and Dontrelle Inman.
The 2018 draft class doesn’t offer a bonafide talent either. Calvin Ridley, Courtland Sutton, D.J. Moore and James Washington are the names who could go in the first round.
The Jets need playmakers and have oodles of cap space. They might regret not landing Robinson or Watkins down the road. Meanwhile, the pursuit for Kirk Cousins continues as free agency officially begins in 24 hours.