FLORHAM PARK, N.J.. — There were times last season when it seemed like receiver Jamison Crowder was the only good thing in the New York Jets offense. He scored six touchdowns, twice as many as the next player, and finished his year with a touchdown in a Week 16 game against the Cleveland Browns.

There is now speculation that he may be the victim of a payday. Yeah, it’s a cold case.

Crowder is vulnerable because his capital is $11.4 million, including an uncapped base salary of $10 million – a substantial amount for a niche receiver. Since this is the last year of his contract, it is considered easy to make him go on strike, since his entire base would be out of commission. Which begs the question:

– Will the Jets regret trading Sam Darnold?
– Chris Hogan comes into
First Draft Lacrosse – Deshaun Watson with the Jets? Oh, my God.
– Ranking of the Jets in the Super Bowl timeline.

Does a team with a high player inventory ($68 million per player over the cap) get rid of its most productive offensive player just because he is no longer on the market?

In a vacuum, the answer makes no sense …. Keep it… but that’s not how you’re gonna make a list of winners. Jets’ CEO Joe Douglas is a rigorous man when it comes to maintaining a value system, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he wants to reinvest that $10 million.

Douglas could try to move to NFL Free Agency in 2021 with JuJu Smith-Schuster (Pittsburgh Steelers) or Chris Godwin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) at the slot receiver position; that would be expensive. He could also opt for a less expensive option in the person of Kendrick Bourn (San Francisco 49ers), who has spent the last four years in the system the Jets plan to install. There is also an option to renegotiate Crowder’s contract.

Crowder, who died June 17. 28, ranked seventh for receptions (91) and eighth for yards (1 094) per game from slot machine positions over the past two seasons, according to ESPN statistics and information. This is not a bad result for a player who missed four games in 2020 due to soft tissue injuries and struggled with inconsistency at the quarterback position. Former Jets coach Adam Gase has repeatedly pointed out that Crowder is their best offensive player.

Crowder finished the game with a total of 59 passes for 699 yards, two team records in 2020 but rather mediocre numbers when you look at the big picture.

Crowder’s numbers are disproportionate to his salary. He ranks third among receivers who have made at least 50% of their shots from the lunge in the past two years, behind Jarvis Landry of the Cleveland Browns ($14.8 million) and Tyler Lockett of the Seattle Seahawks ($13.4 million). Full disclosure: Landry’s time spent in the niche was 49.5%, according to statistics and information from ESPN.

In his second season with the Jets, 27-year-old wide receiver Jamison Crowder had 59 catches for six touchdowns in 2020. Vincent Carchitta/USA Today Sports

The downside of getting rid of Crowder is that the Jets no longer have any confirmed players as receivers, but only one potential player, sophomore Denzel Mims, backup receiver Braxton Berrios and a lot of question marks. Berrios had a sneaky and efficient season, catching 37 passes despite 290 holds – a better ratio than Crowder (59 holds for 590).

Crowder would ensure staff continuity by switching to an offense led by coach Robert Saleh, but that probably wouldn’t carry much weight in the decision. He’s a new coach with a new attacking system – a total reset – and he’s going to try to get his players involved. And you can be sure there will be a major acquisition from a great receiver, either through free agency or draft.

Another factor to consider is the role of slot receiver in offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s offense. Just look at San Francisco, where he has spent the last four years under coach Kyle Shanahan. From 2017 to 2020, 258 passes were taken by the 49ers wideouts, according to ESPN Stats & Info (29th). The rankings are a bit skewed because the Niners got a lot of slots from team star George Kittle. Also of note is slot machine receiver, Emmanuel Sanders, who was a key figure in the race to the Super Bowl in San Francisco in 2019.

Good coaches find ways to use good players, and Crowder is a good player. Now they have to decide if it’s good enough to pay $10 million.

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