How Jets' free agent additions can fit in offense in 2021

Bent
·4 min read
Corey Davis in KC
Corey Davis in KC

The first wave of free agency appears to be over, with the Jets having made a series of moves aimed at overhauling their depth chart on both sides of the ball.

So far, they’ve made five new signings on offense. Let’s consider how each of these players will fit in...

WR Corey Davis

Davis is the Jets’ big money signing and they’ll hope he can produce like a number one receiver in the first year of his three-year, $37.5 million deal.

While Davis was considered a slight disappointment after being a top five pick for the Tennessee Titans four years ago, he posted a career year in 2020 and would have had a thousand-yard season had he not missed two games due to being placed on COVID-19 reserve.

The 26-year-old produces well in play-action situations, which should be a staple of the new offense. He can also make contested catches and has been efficient but underused in the red zone, perhaps suggesting he’ll put up bigger numbers on a team where he will be more of a top option there.

WR Keelan Cole

The Cole signing was less heralded, but this could prove to be more than just a depth move.

After Cole broke out with a string of big games at the end of his rookie season, many felt he was a candidate to be a breakout star, although his production and consistency fell off over the next two seasons.

However, he seemed to figure things out in 2020, as he posted career-highs in receptions (55) and touchdowns (six), so the Jets will hope he hasn’t reached his peak yet. Cole is a player who can contribute both out wide and in the slot, bringing extra flexibility to this year’s group and adding a potential starter in the event Denzel Mims misses time or doesn’t develop as swiftly as hoped.

G/C Dan Feeney

Many felt the Jets' offensive line needed a complete overhaul, but Feeney was the only player they signed so far.

The athletic Feeney can play all three interior positions and could compete for a starting role in camp as he started for the past three years with the Los Angeles Chargers. However, he could end up in a reserve role as the main interior backup, much like Jonotthan Harrison and Josh Andrews have played in the past.

There’s been much discussion about the new system and how it will affect the offensive line, but the truth is that the system won’t differ that much from what was already in place. The Jets need their linemen to be athletic and they all are, so the incumbent starters remain solid fits.

The Jets may, and arguably should, still address the offensive line in the draft, but Feeney’s inclusion adds some depth to a group that should bring some valuable continuity.

TE Tyler Kroft

Kroft is a good blocker who has flashed playmaking ability at times but dealt with a lot of injury issues over the past few years. The Jets may view him as a replacement for Ryan Griffin who, for now, remains under contract.

If he can stay healthy, Kroft can pass-protect and should contribute well to the running game, while also being able to fill in at the fullback position in the event the Jets opt not to prioritize that position.

RB Tevin Coleman

Coleman had a rough year in 2020, as he averaged fewer than two yards per carry and struggled to get on the field. However, Robert Saleh and the other 49ers coaches who moved over to the Jets in the offseason saw what he is capable of in 2019 when he was a key contributor on the team that reached the Super Bowl.

Having also played for Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta, Coleman knows the system well and is a good fit within it. He also brings a valuable veteran presence to a young group and is more experienced and reliable at picking up the blitz than the other young backs currently on the roster.

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What’s striking about this group of players is that -- other than Davis -- they all signed one-year deals. While any of the other four could perform well enough to earn an extension, this suggests the Jets may be hoping for younger players to emerge at these spots, either via the draft or from players already on the roster.

Even if most of them are just stop-gaps, everyone on this list could end up making important contributions for the Jets in 2021 and, if they add to the new culture that Joe Douglas and Saleh are building, this will foster an environment where young players developing into key contributors becomes all the more likely.