Outside of Zach Wilson, no New York Jets player has stolen headlines like wide receiver Braxton Berrios in recent weeks.
The Green & White fan-favorite was always known to be a terrific returner but in recent weeks, he’s proven himself as a legitimate weapon in Mike LaFleur’s offense with starters sidelined. Of course, many of us know that this isn’t the first time Berrios has risen to the occasion.
The 5-foot-9 sixth-rounder out of Miami became a popular target with Sam Darnold in Adam Gase’s system too. He finished third for the franchise in receiving yardage in 2020 behind Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman. Berrios is now dead-even with Crowder for third-most receiving yards in 2021 as well, with 431. In scrimmage yards, he’s fifth overall and third for receivers above Crowder.
That doesn’t even take into account his 1,000-plus return yards which all adds up to 1,524 all-purpose yards this season. Not bad for the sixth receiver on the depth chart heading into camp.
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Jets ‘Start’ Extension Talks With Berrios
Some forget that the slot-man was actually one of Joe Douglas’ first moves on the job. The current general manager claimed Berrios off waivers from the New England Patriots in 2019, on the same day that John Franklin-Myers was poached from the Los Angeles Rams.
uSTADIUM wrote: “According to a team source, the Jets and ST/WR Braxton Berrios have started initial contract extension talks. Both sides are motivated to get a deal done that will keep the emerging playmaker from hitting free agency in March. Berrios has big fans in OC Mike LaFleur and ST coach Brant Boyer. He is a favorite amongst the staff and teammates in the locker room.”
Berrios is a free agent in 2022. Spotrac projects his calculated market value at an average annual salary of $5.9 million.
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Day One Chemistry Between Berrios & Wilson
Berrios began carving out a role on this roster in OTAs with Crowder, Corey Davis and Denzel Mims sidelined. Most days, it was Elijah Moore, Keelan Cole and ‘B.B.’ leading the Jets offense alongside Wilson.
That chemistry and playbook awareness seems to have stuck with the playmaker despite limited reps throughout the early portion of the year. If Douglas and LaFleur are truly making it a priority to extend Berrios before March, that’s a bad sign for Crowder.
It was always expected that the franchise would go another direction from the veteran slot whose game has diminished a bit in 2021. Crowder was asked to take a pay cut in June and the combination of Moore and Berrios should account for his loss in 2022. The Jets could also add interior weapons in the draft.
Wilson has also talked about Berrios as one of his best friends in the locker room. If the rookie quarterback is the franchise’s most important piece right now, it’s good to reward some of his close teammates that deserve it.
The wide receiver is coming off his highest offensive grade (89.9) of the 2021 campaign according to Pro Football Focus. Not only that, The Jet Press tweeted that his marks were second to Ja’Marr Chase in Week 17, finishing with eight catches for 65 yards and two touchdowns, plus 12 rushing yards.
The 26-year old has displayed versatility, reliability and durability — has not missed a single game in three NFL seasons. He’s turning into a key Jets role player heading into 2022, and he should absolutely receive the contract he’s earned.