Ex-Jets Wide Receiver Skips Town to Sign With Raiders: Report

Keelan Cole

Getty Former New York Jets wide receiver Keelan Cole has agreed to terms with the Las Vegas Raiders.

The New York Jets have done some work at the wide receiver position this offseason both in the draft with Garrett Wilson and on the UDFA market with Irvin Charles and Calvin Jackson Jr. among others — but they still lack experienced depth.

Outside of Corey Davis, this WR corps is extremely young. The second oldest pass-catcher on the roster is Braxton Berrios at age 26 — excluding Rodney Adams who has yet to appear in a game. It seemed like the plan was to trade for an established playmaker this offseason but the Jets were foiled with every attempt.

In the end, they drafted Wilson instead and now the franchise is short on vets in this area. Of course, they could have chosen to re-sign one of their elder receivers from 2021.

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Keelan Cole Becomes Second WR to Leave in Free Agency

After Jamison Crowder signed with the Buffalo Bills, some thought the Jets might make an effort to bring back Keelan Cole, but that ship has officially sailed. On May 11, NFL insider Adam Schefter announced that the wideout would be joining the Las Vegas Raiders.

The former Jacksonville Jaguar was only with Gang Green for one season, but he appeared to be well-liked by his teammates. He was a mentor to prospects like Denzel Mims at age 28 (now 29) and a constant source of life and charisma at One Jets Drive.

Cole was also fairly effective in a rotational role, although his stats dipped when he was asked to take on more responsibility. He finished with 28 receptions for 449 yards. It was the second-lowest output of his career.

More staggering was his 54.9% catch percentage, which dropped from 62.5% the season before — and 68.6% in 2019. Cole was also known as a first-down machine when the Jets first signed him after 34 firsts last year. He only managed 20 with the Green & White.

None of this was due to lack of opportunity either. ESPN’s Rich Cimini reported that Cole “played more offensive snaps than any receiver on the Jets last season.”

Here was his best “catch” with the franchise. Unfortunately, it didn’t end up counting.

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Is This Wide Receiver Room Set?

The Jets currently have 11 wide receivers on the roster, including four rookies — Wilson, Charles, Jackson and Keshunn Abram.

The projected starters are Davis, Wilson again, and 2021 second-rounder Elijah Moore. Behind them are Mims, Berrios and Jeff Smith as of now. Tarik Black and the aforementioned Adams are the final two players competing for a roster spot.

Should the Jets still sign a veteran at the position this summer?

With all the injuries in years past, that answer should be a resounding yes, but the front office made very few waves at wide receiver in free agency. If they do decide to add an extra body, it would have to be a scheme fit and a culture fit.

There are still a handful of big names available on the open market, but it’s unclear if the Jets see any of these veterans as real options for 2022.

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