Jamison Crowder showed last week that he has a good arm, but he’s not a candidate to replace Sam Darnold as the Jets’ quarterback. At least for one game, he remains a slot receiver for the team.
Crowder’s future is one of the many questions facing the Jets heading into the offseason, which officially will begin after Sunday’s game at New England. It’s pretty clear that coach Adam Gase won’t return. That leads to more uncertainty with Crowder.
He left Washington in 2019 and signed a three-year, $28.5 million contract to play a huge role as slot receiver in Gase’s system. He has been the Jets’ most productive player in those two seasons with 133 catches for 1,501 yards and 12 touchdowns along with one touchdown pass.
"He’s probably been our most consistent guy over the last two years," Gase said. "He’s the guy that’s always where the quarterback needs him. And when we need a big play, he seems to make it."
Crowder is due $10 million next season, but it’s not guaranteed. If he’s cut before June 1, it will cost the Jets $1 million in dead money. This decision will be made by general manager Joe Douglas and next season’s coach.
There are a number of free-agent receivers whom the Jets could chase, including Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kenny Golladay. Current Jets wideout Breshad Perriman will be a free agent, but the Jets could look for an upgrade there after he had an injury-plagued season.
The Jets need a more reliable player on the outside. Godwin can play on the outside or in the slot, but Crowder deserves strong consideration to return to the Jets.
"He’s a great player," Darnold said. "He’s got such a great feel in space, whether it’s in zone or even if it’s man-to-man, breaking away from the guys. Jamison’s always been good ever since he got here and he’s going to be really good for a long time."
Darnold, whose future also is up in the air, and Crowder had a good connection immediately.
Crowder caught 78 passes for 833 yards and six touchdowns in 2019 and has 58 catches for 668 yards and six touchdowns in 11 games this season. He’s missed time with hamstring and groin injuries.
In last week’s 23-16 win over the Browns, Crowder had seven catches for 92 yards and a 14-yard run, caught a 30-yard touchdown pass and threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Braxton Berrios.
"It always feels good, for one, to get a victory and then to definitely contribute in a major way," Crowder said. "That always feels really good."
Crowder doesn’t get the recognition other receivers enjoy because he’s not a deep threat or a dynamic runner who takes the top off the coverage and makes big plays down the field. But that doesn’t take away from his importance to an offense or how other teams view him.
"He’s a good football player," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "He’s been productive in a lot of different systems."
Gase said AFC East rivals New England and Miami double-team Crowder all the time and try to take him away. The Jets expect more of the same on Sunday.
"That tells me everything I need to know: They’re aware that he is a problem," Gase said. "The teams that are familiar with us, they know that we want to get him the ball and get him going because he’s one of our best players and he’s one of those guys that will get us positive plays and get things rolling in the right direction."
Seems as if the Jets can’t afford to let someone like that go.