Here's what could be next for Jamison Crowder and Jets

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Jamison Crowder runs with the ball in green Jets jersey
Jamison Crowder runs with the ball in green Jets jersey

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – There was one good, reliable piece of the Jets’ otherwise miserable offense the last two seasons. Say what you want about Adam Gase, but he knew how to use his slot receiver. And the Jets certainly got their money’s worth out of Jamison Crowder’s prime.

Those days are over, though. And the business side of the NFL moves fast.

Crowder, who’ll turn 28 in two weeks and still figures to have a couple of good NFL years remaining, has been missing from the Jets’ offseason practices, because he’s been “working through some stuff with his contract,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. That’s a nice way of saying the Jets are trying to get him to take what one source said was a “significant” pay cut from his $10 million salary, rather than having to cut him from the team.

If that seems harsh for the player who was the lone bright spot on the Jets’ offense during the Gase Era … well, it probably is. But that’s life in the NFL. He was already paid $18 million to catch 137 passes for 1,532 yards and 12 touchdowns in 28 games over the last two seasons. The Jets like Crowder and believe he could still be productive. In fact Saleh said that once the contract issues are settled, he “absolutely” still has a place on the team.

But the Jets also drafted his replacement in the second round, when they took speedy receiver Elijah Moore out of Ole Miss. Moore is the future and figures to take half of Crowder’s snaps this season, if not more. So the Jets – even with the $26.5 million in cap space they still have remaining -- just aren’t going to pay Crowder $10 million to play part-time in the final year of his three-year, $28.5 million deal.

They don’t want to cut him outright, though – which they could do, since he has no guaranteed money remaining on his contract. Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur still see the 5-9, 177-pounder as a good weapon for their rebuilt passing attack and an important, reliable weapon for rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. They have the 6-3 Corey Davis and the 6-3 Denzel Mims on the outside, but the offense they’re running needs versatile players in the slot. Eventually that could be the 5-9, 195-pound Moore. Given the quickness and burst he’s shown this spring, his time is probably coming sooner than later.

But Saleh insisted that “Jamison’s definitely got a role here and we’re excited to have him.” And with good reason. The Jets saw last year how important depth is when they were quickly forced to pick Chris Hogan off the street at receiver and at one point were stuck starting untested players like Jeff Smith and Lawrence Cager at that position.

It’s a lesson Saleh learned last season in San Francisco, too, when it seemed half their team landed on injured reserve early in the season.

So bringing Crowder back makes sense. It’s why the Jets didn’t cut him right after the draft. The only problem is that if all goes well, his role will diminish over time as Moore emerges.

That’s why they want to reset his value, because if he was to get cut and hit the open market this late, he’d be lucky to find a team willing to pay him $3 million for the season. So a resolution makes sense for both sides, even if a pay cut for Crowder feels like a bit of a raw deal.