The New York Jets are in serious need of an influx of talented skill players. The lack of depth became blatantly obvious as the season progressed so the organization has already emphasized the wide receiver position as one that must be addressed this offseason.
One way in which they could do that would be to sign free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. He was recently linked to being a possible target of the Jets by CBS sports.
Sanders, 26, was drafted in the third round out of Southern Methodist University in 2010. In his four years in the NFL his production has gradually improved with a larger role in the offense culminating in a breakout year during the 2013 season where he caught 67 passes for 740 yards and six touchdowns. Sanders was targeted 38 more times than the year before after becoming the number two receiver behind Antonio Brown. He dropped a total of five passes last season and had a 60% catch percentage.
That increased production is sure to lead Sanders into getting a multiyear contract for a good amount of money. Most writers are projecting Sanders to get a contract similar to the one that Brian Hartline received at five years and $30 million last year.
Not much has been questioned about Sanders character, except during injury he reportedly faked according to the NFL. In a game against the Cincinatti Bengals in 2012 Sanders went down with an apparent leg cramp but was in the game a play later and outran everyone on the team. The NFL suspended Sanders for the incident, citing that he faked the injury in order to preserve a timeout for the Steelers.
When Sanders moved up the depth chart after the departure of Mike Wallace, his position changed as well. Throughout his collegiate and first three years in the NFL, Sanders primarily played the slot position. That changed last year when he moved to the outside where he had relatively good success. With Jeremy Kerley already on the roster it seems the Jets would need Sanders to serve as similar role to the one he had last season where he had five catches of over 50 yards or more, better than any Jets receiver.
With such a dearth of options this offseason the Jets will have to carefully choose where and how they add to depth at the wide receiver position.