NFL Free Agency New York Jets
Photo Credit: USA Today

Jamison Crowder will be getting a fresh start and big payday courtesy of the New York Jets. Crowder is set to join the Jets once the NFL free agency signing period begins on Wednesday.

The Jets will reportedly be very busy once free agency officially begins later today. One of their big signings will be former Washington Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder. Crowder is being handsomely rewarded to head north up I-95 to join the Jets, providing second-year quarterback Sam Darnold with another weapon.

Crowder dealt with a ton of injuries in 2018 en route to his worst season as a pro. Last year, Crowder posted career lows in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, catch rate, and approximate value. Earlier in his career, however, Crowder has proven to be a viable slot weapon.

Why Crowder is getting a big deal with the Jets

The Jets simply needed to provide Darnold with more weapons. But this free agent wide receiver class is underwhelming. In addition, New York’s first-round selection is too high to be used on a rookie wideout. The Jets could have brought in another outside receiver and moved Quincy Enunwa into the slot. But given all available options, the team decided the best course of action was to import the guy they viewed as the best slot receiver available in free agency.

What can Crowder bring to the Jets?

A lot. The former Duke product figures to become an immediate favorite of Darnold. In his last healthy campaign, Crowder finished 8th among receivers in average separation. The number improves to 6th if we institute a 70 target minimum. This wasn’t a fluke either, as Crowder finished 2nd in the whole league and first among receivers in average separation in 2016.

From 2016-2017, under Adam Gase, Jarvis Landry averaged 146 targets, 103 receptions, 1,061.5 yards, 6.5 touchdowns, and an approximate value of 7. From 2013-2014, Wes Welker, on the back end of his career and with Gase as his offensive coordinator, averaged 87.5 targets, 621 yards, 6 touchdowns, and a 6.5 approximate value.

Landing somewhere in the middle of those averages should be doable for Crowder. He is a shifty athlete, evidenced by his ability to gain separation from his defender.

The free agency signing will not affect how the Jets operate moving forward either. They were never going to take a receiver with the third pick in the draft. New York is still loaded with cap space and can make a play for Le’Veon Bell.

What does signing Crowder mean for the Jets?

This free agency signing locks up a quality slot receiver for New York for the next three years. Just as Darnold’s salary rises with his 5th-year option, Crowder will come off the books.

Crowder’s outlook for 2019 is good. Gase has shown an ability to maximize slot receivers in previous coaching stints. Crowder has flashed an ability to be a real weapon out of the slot. Darnold will be looking to get the ball out as quickly as possible, and Crowder often will be open immediately off the line.

This is a strong signing by the Jets. Crowder is a weapon and fills a need. Additionally, it is not a long-term commitment. New York did pay a bit of a premium with Crowder coming off an injury-riddled season, but he figures to make Darnold’s life much better.