Sometimes you can’t always believe what you read on the internet.
That is especially true right during lying season in the NFL. Last year the New York Jets were kicking the tires on some interesting names, but an insider clarified some of that heading into free agency.
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Rumors are always flying around during the offseason and the Jets are normally a pretty popular team that you hear involved with a variety of players.
It seemed odd at the time and a year later Connor Hughes of The Athletic said it was never real:
“Be careful what you read online. Agents will routinely float faux news to media about a team’s interest in players. Often, they loop in the Jets in an attempt to drive up the price for competing teams. This happened last year with Pittsburgh’s JuJu Smith-Schuster. The Jets never had any legitimate interest in the wideout. But, before Smith-Schuster re-signed with the Steelers, rumors ran rampant on Twitter of the Jets being in pursuit. Why? If the Jets are involved, the Jets are usually willing to pay.”
Well if that was the strategy apparently it didn’t work because Smith-Schuster inked a well below market value deal for $8 million.
What About This Year?
Smith-Schuster is once again a free agent after signing a one-year deal in 2021 to return to the Steelers, could there be interest in joining the Jets now?
Well, they aren’t considered one of the top names according to ESPN:
“JuJu Smith-Schuster will have options this week, starting with a potential re-signing with Pittsburgh. The Eagle, Chiefs, Bears, and Jaguars also could be involved come Monday’s tampering period, I’m told.”
It is hard to believe the former USC product is still only 25 years old heading into his second free agency tour, but here we are.
He is coming off of the worst year of his career finishing with just 15 catches for 129 yards and zero touchdowns. Smith-Schuster injured his shoulder and was ruled out for the season back in October of 2021.
Although prior to that he had some really decent production in Pittsburgh:
- 323 receptions
- 3,855 yards
- 26 touchdowns
Even if the Jets don’t really pursue JuJu, which seems unlikely at this point, keep an eye out for the slot market.
Since the Jets are uncertain what is going to happen there they have been doing their homework on other slot options that could shake free. In theory, they would love to have Elijah Moore and Corey Davis as their outside receivers, with someone else filling from the inside.
If they don’t find anything they like in free agency, the fallback plan will be the 2022 NFL draft.