NFL Insider on NY Jets WR depth, backup QBs entering 2021 NFL season

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Corey Davis Treated No. 2
Corey Davis Treated No. 2

There are a ton of questions about the Jets as they get ready to open their first training camp under Robert Saleh and pick up the pieces from a 2-14 season. Here are a few of the ones you asked...

How do you see the Jets using their WR depth this year? A lot of options. -- @mdliny

They certainly do have a lot of options, at least compared to previous years. The depth will certainly help in the event of injuries. And overall there’s a lot more talent, which should allow them to spread the ball around.

But how? I wish I had a better answer, but in studying the Kyle Shanahan offense that they’ll be using, there aren’t a lot of clues from the way the Jets’ new coaches used it in San Francisco.

The 49ers focused a lot of their passing game on the tight end, which I assume the Jets won’t do with Chris Herndon as their main option. And while they did spread the ball around to their receivers, a lot of that was due to injuries and necessity.

My hunch with the Jets is that they hope and plan for Corey Davis to become their No. 1 option – which makes sense given the three-year, $37.5 million contract they gave him with $27 million guaranteed. And I think they have big plans for whoever emerges as their top slot receiver – which I assume is going to eventually be rookie Elijah Moore (more on that in a minute).

That’s not to say the rest of them will be ignored. They seem to like the potential of Denzel Mims and they believe they got an under-the-radar steal in free agent Keelan Cole. Of course, veteran Jamison Crowder is still there and during the spring, they sure found a lot of ways to use slot guy Braxton Berrios.

My guess is you’ll see one guy with No. 1 receiver-type numbers (Davis), another guy somewhere in the 50s (Moore or Crowder, I’d guess) and then a handful of guys in the 20s-30s. But that’s if everyone stays healthy – and you just know, over time, they all won’t.

How will the slot group work out? Is (Jamison) Crowder getting majority of the reps or will it be split with (Elijah) Moore and (Keelan) Cole? -- @dc23vc117

I don’t think that Crowder is going to get the majority of reps, as long as Moore is healthy. I think the Jets are enamored with what Moore can do, and in the spring he sure didn’t disappoint. There’s a long way from that to actual NFL games, of course, but his trajectory is pointed upwards – so much that the Jets weren’t going to bring Crowder back if he didn’t agree to have half his salary cut.

My guess is that Crowder and Moore are going to split time this summer, and maybe even early in the season. I think Cole is going to end up spending most of his time on the outside. The Jets are really crowded in the slot when you think about it with Crowder, Moore, and Berrios. They want to get Cole on the field because they believe he’s a hidden gem of their free-agent class. They don’t want to bury him in a deep slot competition.

Over time, I do think Moore is going to emerge as the primary slot guy. For one, he’s the future and Crowder is the past, so it makes sense to make that transition. For another, Moore has a big head start on Crowder in terms of the chemistry he’s built with quarterback Zach Wilson. He also has a higher ceiling than Crowder does at age 28.

What’s the end goal with the backup QB situation? No way this is the group come week 1, right? -- @jjcalder13

Well, I wouldn’t think this would be the group come Week 1, but honestly I didn’t think this would be the group heading into training camp. I’m baffled that their only insurance behind the 21-year-old Wilson are two completely untested young players in Mike White and James Morgan. The Jets, given all the injuries and illness they suffered through with Sam Darnold the last few seasons, should know better than that.

They did make a run at Brian Hoyer before he signed with New England, so I know that the backup quarterback situation is on their mind. And I think if the right person becomes available they will try to bring in veteran insurance before the regular season begins. Right now, there is just nobody available, otherwise I think they’d try to sign someone before camp. But by early September, that could change.

Two situations to watch: One is New England where Cam Newton is the starter and they just drafted Mac Jones to be their Quarterback of the Future. They also have Jarrett Stidham on the roster. So it’s not a guarantee that Hoyer survives to make the opening day roster. The other situation is in Chicago where they signed Andy Dalton to start and traded for Justin Fields. Nick Foles is still there as a backup and the Bears would probably love to dump the two years and $12 million remaining on his contract if they could.

My guess is the Jets are monitoring those situations and others, with the idea of acquiring a veteran backup later in camp. For now, I think they’re happy to let Wilson take as many reps as possible and they don’t think he needs a veteran “mentor” to help him along. But I do think they want some veteran insurance in case he struggles or gets hurt once the regular season begins.

Any late veteran additions you can foresee being added to the team? -- @FlashRedden

I know you want names and it’s hard to give you names because it will really depend on who becomes available. For example, no one would’ve had the Jets signing Morgan Moses at right tackle until the Washington Football Team surprisingly cut him this spring.

I do think the Jets will be active when guys like that become available, either during camp or after the final cuts are made. They have almost $25 million in salary cap space at the moment, trailing only the Broncos and Jaguars. So if there’s a guy they really want, they can be aggressive about going to get him.

So keep an eye on the places everyone has been keeping an eye on all spring. They obviously need a veteran quarterback, as mentioned above. I think if the right veteran cornerback is cut, the Jets could be bidders. Though it’s not as high a priority now after signing Moses, I wouldn’t rule out an offensive lineman. And an edge rusher would always be good, but it’s hard to see a good one being cut any time soon.

So yes, they’ll probably add a veteran or two at some point. But it most likely won’t happen until early September and it depends on who gets bumped from their current team.