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The NY Jets should pivot their free agent WR focus to Russell Gage

https://jetsxfactor.com/2022/03/13/ny-jets-free-agent-russell-gage-focus/

With the big names gone, it's time for the New York Jets to pivot to the next tier of wide receiver targets, specifically Russell Gage.

 

It’s time for the New York Jets to execute Plan B on the wide receiver market

New York Jets fans entered the 2022 offseason with grandiose dreams at the wide receiver position. Joe Douglas was going to put all of his chips in the middle of the table and get Zach Wilson his Stefon Diggs. It was destiny.

The NFL’s legal tampering period has yet to open and those dreams are already dashed. Amari Cooper, Chris Godwin, Davante Adams, Calvin Ridley, and even Mike Williams are all off the board, leaving Jets fans scrambling for answers.

Douglas must turn to Plan B.

Going after a mid-tier wide receiver option to join Elijah Moore and Corey Davis may not have been what fans had in mind entering the offseason, but it is the best path left for Douglas to take. New York cannot punt on the veteran market and bank on a rookie wideout to immediately provide the reliability that Wilson needs in his crucial second season.

The Jets need to round out their starting wide receiver trio with a third proven weapon who they know can help right away. A veteran player is a known commodity whose performance is somewhat predictable. Rookies are a complete crapshoot.

History tells us that rookie wide receivers tend to produce at a very modest level regardless of where they are drafted. You never know if you’re getting an Elijah Moore or a Stephen Hill – and the Jets simply cannot afford to have a Hill-level liability bogging down Wilson this year.

After adding a free agent, the Jets can absolutely still consider selecting a wide receiver in the first or second round of the NFL draft. With Moore on an affordable rookie deal and Davis’ contract becoming escapable after the 2022 season, there is nothing prohibiting the Jets from still drafting a receiver even if they complete their starting lineup with a mid-tier free agent signing.

Having too many weapons is never a bad thing. Plus, the aforementioned path allows the youngster to develop at his own pace.

The bottom line is that the Jets have to come out of free agency with a third starting-quality wide receiver to pair with Moore and Davis. If they fail to do that and choose to rely on a rookie to step in as a starter, they will be taking a huge risk that could damage Wilson’s development.

There are plenty of intriguing options left for New York to consider at the position, including Allen Robinson, Christian Kirk, Michael Gallup, D.J. Chark, Cedrick Wilson, and my favorite of the bunch, Russell Gage.

I believe that signing Gage and later drafting a wide receiver with a top-40 pick is the Jets’ best path forward at the position.

Let’s dig into Gage’s profile to learn why he makes sense for New York.

Contract estimation

Gage just averaged 4.7 receptions per game, 55.0 yards per game, and 0.29 touchdowns per game (66/770/4 in 14 games) in his age-25 season for the Atlanta Falcons. He turned 26 in January.

Looking at some comparable free agents from the 2021 class, it appears Gage should come at an affordable cost for New York:

  • Curtis Samuel, entering age-25 season: Coming off 5.1/56.7/0.20 (77/851/3 in 15G), signed 3-year, $34.5M deal with Washington
  • Nelson Agholor, entering age-28 season: Coming off 3.0/56.0/0.50 (48/896/8 in 16G), signed 2-year, $22M deal with Las Vegas
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster, entering age-25 season: Coming off 6.1/51.9/0.56 (97/831/9 in 16G), signed 1-year, $8M deal with Pittsburgh
  • Kendrick Bourne, entering age-26 season: Coming off 3.3/44.5/0.13 (49/667/2 in 15G), signed 3-year, $15M deal with New England
  • Collectively, those four free agents have about the same profile as Gage, combining for an average line of 4.4/52.3/0.34 (vs. Gage’s 4.7/55.0/0.29) while entering their age-26.0 season on average. The average yearly salary amongst the four players was about $8.9 million.

    So, let’s say that a reasonable contract projection for Gage is a three-year, $27 million deal ($9 million per year). That’s very affordable – it would currently rank as the 29th-largest contract among wide receivers in terms of total value and the 30th-largest in terms of average annual value.

    Such a deal would likely make Gage a cheaper option than other free agents like Allen Robinson and Christian Kirk, who Spotrac projects to earn annual salaries of $16.3 million and $11.8 million, respectively.

    You might be thinking: “Well, sure, that’s because Gage is worse than those players.”

    As we are about to find out, that might not actually be the case.

    Gage has the potential to go down as the best value signing on the 2022 free-agent market.

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Next call should be to the Panthers on DJ Moore. They made an offer to Houston today for Watson, If they need extra capital to get that deal done we can definitely help. Idk if they'll take our calls after the Darnold trade though 

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Russell Gage didn't flourish when the Ridley quit and the Falcons aren't interested in keeping him despite a need at WR.

This is who the target should be?

Go for Gallup and draft WR.  Gallup has never really been given a chance to be a focal part of an O.  Davis and Gallup with Moore in slot and drafting a WR in first 2 rounds sounds solid.

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20 minutes ago, SR24 said:

Next call should be to the Panthers on DJ Moore. They made an offer to Houston today for Watson, If they need extra capital to get that deal done we can definitely help. Idk if they'll take our calls after the Darnold trade though 

Why would the Panthers trade away their best receiver, especially when they’d be trading for Watson? 

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Gage is a pretty nice player, though unheralded and not a #1 option.

If we can get him for a Cole type contract, I'd be good with that - although we would still need to add a guy high in the draft too.

I like DJ Chark and Christian Kirk too, but I have read the asking price for those guys is $15M a season, which seems expensive.

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33 minutes ago, Bronx said:

The NY Jets should pivot their free agent WR focus to Russell Gage

With the big names gone, it's time for the New York Jets to pivot to the next tier of wide receiver targets, specifically Russell Gage.

 

It’s time for the New York Jets to execute Plan B on the wide receiver market

New York Jets fans entered the 2022 offseason with grandiose dreams at the wide receiver position. Joe Douglas was going to put all of his chips in the middle of the table and get Zach Wilson his Stefon Diggs. It was destiny.

The NFL’s legal tampering period has yet to open and those dreams are already dashed. Amari Cooper, Chris Godwin, Davante Adams, Calvin Ridley, and even Mike Williams are all off the board, leaving Jets fans scrambling for answers.

Douglas must turn to Plan B.

Going after a mid-tier wide receiver option to join Elijah Moore and Corey Davis may not have been what fans had in mind entering the offseason, but it is the best path left for Douglas to take. New York cannot punt on the veteran market and bank on a rookie wideout to immediately provide the reliability that Wilson needs in his crucial second season.

The Jets need to round out their starting wide receiver trio with a third proven weapon who they know can help right away. A veteran player is a known commodity whose performance is somewhat predictable. Rookies are a complete crapshoot.

History tells us that rookie wide receivers tend to produce at a very modest level regardless of where they are drafted. You never know if you’re getting an Elijah Moore or a Stephen Hill – and the Jets simply cannot afford to have a Hill-level liability bogging down Wilson this year.

After adding a free agent, the Jets can absolutely still consider selecting a wide receiver in the first or second round of the NFL draft. With Moore on an affordable rookie deal and Davis’ contract becoming escapable after the 2022 season, there is nothing prohibiting the Jets from still drafting a receiver even if they complete their starting lineup with a mid-tier free agent signing.

Having too many weapons is never a bad thing. Plus, the aforementioned path allows the youngster to develop at his own pace.

The bottom line is that the Jets have to come out of free agency with a third starting-quality wide receiver to pair with Moore and Davis. If they fail to do that and choose to rely on a rookie to step in as a starter, they will be taking a huge risk that could damage Wilson’s development.

There are plenty of intriguing options left for New York to consider at the position, including Allen Robinson, Christian Kirk, Michael Gallup, D.J. Chark, Cedrick Wilson, and my favorite of the bunch, Russell Gage.

I believe that signing Gage and later drafting a wide receiver with a top-40 pick is the Jets’ best path forward at the position.

Let’s dig into Gage’s profile to learn why he makes sense for New York.

Contract estimation

Gage just averaged 4.7 receptions per game, 55.0 yards per game, and 0.29 touchdowns per game (66/770/4 in 14 games) in his age-25 season for the Atlanta Falcons. He turned 26 in January.

Looking at some comparable free agents from the 2021 class, it appears Gage should come at an affordable cost for New York:

  • Curtis Samuel, entering age-25 season: Coming off 5.1/56.7/0.20 (77/851/3 in 15G), signed 3-year, $34.5M deal with Washington
  • Nelson Agholor, entering age-28 season: Coming off 3.0/56.0/0.50 (48/896/8 in 16G), signed 2-year, $22M deal with Las Vegas
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster, entering age-25 season: Coming off 6.1/51.9/0.56 (97/831/9 in 16G), signed 1-year, $8M deal with Pittsburgh
  • Kendrick Bourne, entering age-26 season: Coming off 3.3/44.5/0.13 (49/667/2 in 15G), signed 3-year, $15M deal with New England
  • Collectively, those four free agents have about the same profile as Gage, combining for an average line of 4.4/52.3/0.34 (vs. Gage’s 4.7/55.0/0.29) while entering their age-26.0 season on average. The average yearly salary amongst the four players was about $8.9 million.

    So, let’s say that a reasonable contract projection for Gage is a three-year, $27 million deal ($9 million per year). That’s very affordable – it would currently rank as the 29th-largest contract among wide receivers in terms of total value and the 30th-largest in terms of average annual value.

    Such a deal would likely make Gage a cheaper option than other free agents like Allen Robinson and Christian Kirk, who Spotrac projects to earn annual salaries of $16.3 million and $11.8 million, respectively.

    You might be thinking: “Well, sure, that’s because Gage is worse than those players.”

    As we are about to find out, that might not actually be the case.

    Gage has the potential to go down as the best value signing on the 2022 free-agent market.

Please list who wrote this?  Where did it come from. 

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I believe our wr core will be:

1- Davis

2- Moore

3- Garrett Wilson

4- Braxton Berrios

Russell Gage as a wr 5 and can step in if someone gets hurt.  Actually not a bad idea.

But I can tell you this.  No one is being brought in who would take snaps away from Davis, Moore and Wilson.  Those guys are playing.

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Been calling this one for a couple days now. Gage is going to be reasonably priced, Douglas I’m sure has convinced himself Gage is ascending, and Gage separates at a high rate which is good for an offense that really struggled against man coverage last year.

Think it’ll be Gage, a fullback, a boring veteran TE, and a guard and with the fullback we don’t see as many WR’s on the field.

We usually don’t see the names the Jets target crop up early but this very much feels like the kind of stuff they’ve done.

Also believe Bourne on 3/$15M was the most productive free agent wide receiver last year.

36 minutes ago, Pac said:

Russell Gage didn't flourish when the Ridley quit and the Falcons aren't interested in keeping him despite a need at WR.

This is who the target should be?

Go for Gallup and draft WR.  Gallup has never really been given a chance to be a focal part of an O.  Davis and Gallup with Moore in slot and drafting a WR in first 2 rounds sounds solid.

Gage was on a 1300 yard pace the last 8 games of the season - five wide receivers topped 1300 yards over the course of the whole year. Of course we’ve seen this movie before and there’s nothing to say he will continue that kind of production elsewhere, but I think you could argue he quietly flourished with Ridley gone.

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19 minutes ago, Joe W. Namath said:

I believe our wr core will be:

1- Davis

2- Moore

3- Garrett Wilson

4- Braxton Berrios

Russell Gage as a wr 5 and can step in if someone gets hurt.  Actually not a bad idea.

But I can tell you this.  No one is being brought in who would take snaps away from Davis, Moore and Wilson.  Those guys are playing.

So Garrett, a wideout 3 with pick #10?

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21 minutes ago, Tranquilo said:

Why would the Panthers trade away their best receiver, especially when they’d be trading for Watson? 

Here’s my reasoning!  I am not sure they have enough draft capital to trade for Watson as it stands right now. We have their 2nd rounder, the only real player they could move would be CMC? Not even sure Houston would want him either. Also Matt Rhule’s seat is probably pretty hot right now. His OC flamed out, he traded for Darnold and then picked up the expensive option. He needs to start winning now and he knows Watsons his only shot. It’s still highly unlikely but they may get desperate it’s worth a call 

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58 minutes ago, Bronx said:

The NFL’s legal tampering period has yet to open and those dreams are already dashed. Amari Cooper, Chris Godwin, Davante Adams, Calvin Ridley, and even Mike Williams are all off the board, leaving Jets fans scrambling for answers.

We were never going for Adams, Ridley or Godwin.  They didnt want Cooper.

So how were their dreams dashed?  Sounds like the authors dreams were dashed.  

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6 minutes ago, Beerfish said:

That is the guy I'd like if we are going 2d tier wrs.

Perfect fit. Fast tall and a willing blocker. Got hurt last year but will recover from ankle by start of season if not already. Had a great sophomore year with lots of upside to be a #1. 

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41 minutes ago, Joe W. Namath said:

I believe our wr core will be:

1- Davis

2- Moore

3- Garrett Wilson

4- Braxton Berrios

Russell Gage as a wr 5 and can step in if someone gets hurt.  Actually not a bad idea.

But I can tell you this.  No one is being brought in who would take snaps away from Davis, Moore and Wilson.  Those guys are playing.

Moore - 5'10"

Wilson - 6'

Berrios - 5'8"

Gage - 6'0"

and a 6'3" Davis that plays tiny and I've been told is best suited to be a slot guy....

This would be a disaster of a group of WR's...basically 5 slot receivers - along with their top RB Carter being 5' 8"

If we go into the season with this - JD should be fired before the first game....

 

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2 hours ago, SR24 said:

Next call should be to the Panthers on DJ Moore. They made an offer to Houston today for Watson, If they need extra capital to get that deal done we can definitely help. Idk if they'll take our calls after the Darnold trade though 

Carolina is not trading Moore to get Watson. Why would they do that?  Who does Watson throw it to?  The people on this board are in La La land when it comes to the rest of the league. 

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1 hour ago, Rolloffjet said:

Dj chark please

 

51 minutes ago, RedBeardedSavage said:

This.

+ Berrios

+ draft Christian Watson

 

hmm...

Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, DJ Chark, Berrios and Christian Watson on the active roster?  I could probably get onboard with that.

Jeff Smith, Mims on the PS?

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3 minutes ago, jetstream23 said:

Yeah, we need another Keelan Cole!

That will move the needle. lol

 

He’s definitely better than Cole

With Cooper in Cleveland, we aren’t getting a legit #1 receiver outside of pulling off some kind of blockbuster deal for a guy like Metcalf (which isn’t happening).

Bringing in a guy like Gage and drafting someone like Watson, Burks or Dotson in the 2nd round is probably our best bet at this point.

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Gage and Berrios basically produce the same.

Berrios doesn't get as many targets but the average per is comparable. 

It's not 100% but if you figure that average would continue with the same amount of targets their numbers are almost spot on.

The exception being Berrios produces on specials also. Top of the league, in fact.

Why would we toss $9 million per at Gage and say it's worth it and not Berrios?

I don't think either is worth the $9 million but if I HAD to pay it I think I'm leaning toward the guy that can flip the field for me during a game.

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22 minutes ago, Joe Willie White Shoes said:

Carolina is not trading Moore to get Watson. Why would they do that?  Who does Watson throw it to?  The people on this board are in La La land when it comes to the rest of the league. 

They'd still have CMC, Robby Anderson, Terrance Marshall Jr and Tommy Tremble who they just drafted last year. Atleast you looked cool while I was gone though! 

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