Just like it was in 2021, the New York Jets wide receiver position could be in flux this offseason.
Corey Davis and Elijah Moore are the two guaranteed holdovers as we approach NFL free agency but the rest of this unit is filled with question marks. The only other wide-out under contract (on the active roster) is Denzel Mims and the former second-round pick has been the subject of trade speculation since last summer.
Then there are the impending free agents, headlined by slot receivers Jamison Crowder and Braxton Berrios — the former is expected to walk, the latter is up for debate. Keelan Cole and Jeff Smith round out the group, aside from futures contracts like Tarik Black, D.J. Montgomery and Rodney Adams.
During his NFL combine press conference, Jets GM Joe Douglas helped shed some light on the immediate future of two of these players.
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‘Has the Ship Sailed on Denzel Mims?’
Douglas was more of an open book on March 2 than usual. Just before he revealed that the Green & White would be picking up Quinnen Williams’ fifth-year option, he made some supportive remarks about Mims that hinted at their plans for the fallen prospect.
After a pretty blunt question from a reporter — “has the ship sailed on Denzel Mims?” — Douglas responded with a vote of confidence. He voiced:
No, I wouldn’t say that at all. I’d say with Denzel, obviously documented last year [were] his bouts with sickness and some injuries but I know Denzel’s attacking this offseason. I know he’s in great shape — I’ve had great conversations with his agent — I know he’s working his tail off, and I know he’s excited to get back here for OTAs and compete with the rest of his teammates.
Mims 2021 season began with food poisoning and a preseason injury, before a long bout with COVID-19 later on. When he did get snaps, it looked like he’d had trouble picking up the playbook.
In the end, the Baylor product went backward in year two with 133 receiving yards off eight catches.
Despite all of that, Douglas appeared certain that Mims would be on the roster for OTAs in 2022. Whether or not he remains up until Week 1 may still be up in the air depending on the spring and summer transactions but for now, the Jets will probably just bet on the college talent being more of a late bloomer than a bust with his trade value at its lowest.
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Berrios Is ‘an Asset to This Team’
When Berrios joined WFAN’s Tiki & Tierney in February, the All-Pro returner made it clear that he would love to return to New York, citing his friendship with Zach Wilson and Robert Saleh’s coaching as two of the major reasons.
The slot receiver also made it known that there are two sides to the negotiation process, joking that “it’s not all me” making the decision. Berrios has answered the hard questions time and time again this winter, now it was Douglas’ turn.
“So with Braxton, again, we’ve had some good conversations with his representation Drew [Rosenhaus] and we’re going to have more conversations,” the GM began. “Obviously, Braxton has been awesome since we brought him in and he’s an asset to this team, and for us, it’s important to keep the guys that do things the right way and carry themselves the right way.”
The expectation is that Douglas and the Jets will allow Berrios to test the open market on a short leash, meaning they’ll be prepared to match any offer he gets. The risk in this strategy is that another team values his talents much more than Gang Green, which would either result in his departure or a significant raise.
These quotes from the general manager are promising, however, and indicate that the Jets will at least make a strong attempt to re-sign the key role player — barring an absurd amount of money that prices him off the roster.
If the emphasis of this offseason is making Wilson more comfortable in 2022, Berrios’ extension should be one of the top priorities. Not only does he have chemistry with the young quarterback on the field, but he’s also one of his best friends off it.
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