One potential veteran cut that the New York Jets fanbase has supported wholeheartedly is wide receiver Corey Davis.
General manager Joe Douglas can save $10.5 million out of an $11.166M cap hit by parting ways with the 2021 signing according to Over the Cap, and they can also make this move prior to June 1 — which is always key in shaping the offseason. Really, it’s a no brainer to most, although some have argued that Davis’ salary is affordable enough to retain considering how expensive the wide receiver market is projected to be in 2023.
Of course, there is a cheaper option already on the roster. SNY’s Connor Hughes spoke this theory into existence during a fan-led mailbag article on February 8.
“The Jets have two receivers they’re ready to see take off — Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore,” Hughes began when asked about the WR plan if Davis is cut. “It seems unlikely they make a major splash at the position considering that, along with the fact they’re pressed up against the cap… I could see the Jets targeting a wideout in the third or fourth round — a bigger-bodied guy to complement Wilson and Moore. More likely: This is the year you see the team truly give Denzel Mims a chance to be the guy.”
Jets WR Denzel Mims Replacing Corey Davis Makes Perfect Sense in 2023
Mims is entering the final season of his rookie contract in 2023 and like the other members of his 2020 draft class, he doesn’t have much to show for his tenure in the league. At the same time, he’s been Davis’ direct understudy for two years now and he’s already proven himself as a run blocker — the veteran’s primary role on the outside.
Now the question is: Can he match Davis’ production at a fraction of the cost ($1.728 million cap hit in 2023)?
Davis started just nine games in 2021, appearing in 13 (starting 10) the following season. He did not surpass 550 receiving yards in either of those two campaigns — and severely underperformed considering his price tag — but did accumulate six touchdowns and 51 first downs as more of a clutch target than a consistent one.
Over the same period of time, Mims was not a focal point of the offense whatsoever but did register 988 offensive snaps compared to Davis’ 1,067 snaps. He did far worse, with less than 200 receiving yards in both seasons, zero touchdowns, and just 12 first downs. Having said that, the former second-round pick did total 357 receiving yards and 15 first downs in nine appearances under Adam Gase in 2020.
For whatever reason, ex-OC Mike LaFleur and Mims did not mesh well together — similar to a lot of the younger prospects when it came to the recent offensive coordinator. Hughes addressed this in his mailbag response.
“Internally the Jets believe [new OC] Nathaniel Hackett will connect with Mims better than Mike LaFleur did, bringing out more in him,” Hughes relayed to fans. After all, Hackett has been lauded for his ability to relate to players throughout his career.
Playing for a new contract in 2023, it could finally be time to take the training wheels off when it comes to Mims. He has talent, and perhaps with a more experienced quarterback and more personable OC, that talent can finally be realized in this NYJ offense.
Jets Game Plan May See Offensive 180 in 2023
Going into the 2022 campaign, it was all about supplying Zach Wilson with the offensive playmakers and pieces to succeed. That may not be the case in 2023 if the Jets land a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers.
That’s not to say Rodgers (or another veteran) won’t have help — Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall, Moore, Michael Carter, Tyler Conklin, C.J. Uzomah, and Zonovan Knight among others aren’t going anywhere. But the priority now shifts to allowing the QB to lift the offense, not the other way around.
That’s why you can get away with a slight drop-off from Davis to Mims if it means shedding $10.5 million in cap space. Contrary to what some might try and tell you, the quarterback has always been the most important position on the field, and adding an above average QB along with an experienced play-caller changes everything for the better.
If the Jets can land the right signal-caller, the rest will fall into place. If not, you might see Douglas take another shot at that 2022 model of success.