NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Jets plan to put weapons around second-year quarterback Sam Darnold.
Antonio Brown will not be one of them.
According to a report, New York is no longer in the running to acquire the super-talented, yet highly volatile wide receiver’s services. The Pittsburgh Steelers are expected to trade Brown by the end of the week.
Brown, who will turn 31 on July 10, has been a statistical monster for the last six seasons, averaging 114 receptions, 1,524 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s well on his way to a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and if he stays healthy has a very good chance of finishing in the top 3 all-time in catches and yards.
However, despite all of his success he wore out his welcome after nine seasons in Pittsburgh, butting heads with, among others, veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. So the Steelers decided to acquiesce to his trade demands and it was believed that the Jets would be high on the list of teams ready to acquire him.
Instead, the Jets will likely look to bolster their very thin receiving corps in free agency and the draft. Though this year’s free agent class is devoid of superstars, it does have some solid veterans that can help the Jets, including Donte Moncrief, Adam Humphries, Cole Beasley and Jamison Crowder, any of whom would slot in nicely with veterans Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson, and young tight end Chris Herndon.
That’s not the ideal scenario for Darnold, but if general manager Mike Maccagnan uses a good portion of the team’s estimated $100 million in salary cap space to also improve the offensive line and running game, the Jets should be a lot better than they were last year, when they were among the worst offensive teams in the league on their way to a 4-12 record.
Various reports have indicated the Jets will be bold on the open market, pursuing guard Roger Saffold and centers Mitch Morse or Matt Paradis. They are also expected to go hard after running backs Le’Veon Bell or Tevin Coleman.
The Jets also have the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. At this point it seems like they are a lock to get one of the top edge rushers available, namely Nick Bosa of Ohio State, Quinnen Williams of Alabama or Kentucky’s Josh Allen, though Maccagnan has said he’s open to trading down to recoup some of what he gave up last year in the deal with the Indianapolis Colts to move up to No. 3 to grab Darnold.
As for a receiver they could target in the draft, the Jets were reportedly impressed by Old Miss wideout D.K. Metcalf’s workout at the scouting combine.
Regardless of how they add talent, the Jets will be active. They have 26 players from last year’s roster who are set to enter free agency.