Jets receiver Robby Anderson a rising talent with a cloudy future

Robby Anderson caught 63 passes for 941 yards and seven TDs in 2017, his second NFL season. Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A look at what's happening around the New York Jets (as I prepare to cover the AFC Championship Game on Sunday):

1. Arrested development: Robby Anderson was one of the Jets' few bright spots in 2017, a homegrown talent who displayed flashes of stardom before our eyes, but he ruined his feel-good ascent with his second arrest in an eight-month span. If you're scoring at home, his felony count (three charges) is nearly half his season touchdown total (seven).

From a football perspective, the question is: Does he have a future with the Jets?

Judging from the reaction on Twitter, it seems most fans want the 24-year-old released immediately. I'd be surprised if coach Todd Bowles cuts him loose. While the allegations in the most recent arrest are highly disturbing, my sense is Bowles will give Anderson a chance to redeem himself if he shows remorse and demonstrates a willingness to make changes in his life. From now on, it should be zero tolerance for Anderson, who's not good enough to deserve a third chance.

Remember, Bowles gave Sheldon Richardson another chance after his arrest in 2015, which also involved high-speed driving and resisting arrest. Richardson wound up pleading guilty to the latter charge, resulting in a one-game suspension under the NFL's personal-conduct policy. The organization suspects Anderson will get hit with at least one game.

Clearly, Anderson is immature and makes bad decisions, but the organization doesn't see him as a bad person. (It should be noted that no drugs or alcohol were involved in Friday's arrest, police said.) At the same time, he embarrassed the franchise and jeopardized his long-term future.

A former undrafted free agent, Anderson will make only $630,000 in 2018, the final year of his contract. He will be a restricted free agent in 2019, so the Jets have him at a fixed cost for two more years. Beyond that, it's cloudy.

At this point, why would they entertain the notion of making a long-term investment? There's absolutely no way. He'll need to pull a 180 to regain the trust of the organization. By that, I mean an attitude reversal, not miles per hour.

2. A show of hands: Whether Anderson stays or goes, the Jets still need a No. 1 receiver. They have complementary receivers in Jermaine Kearse and Quincy Enunwa, who returns from a neck injury, but there's no star who draws double-teams on a consistent basis.

Problem is, there aren't many good ones in free agency.

The top free agents are Jarvis Landry (a possession receiver), Allen Robinson (coming off knee surgery) and Sammy Watkins (underachiever). If the Jets stay with a West Coast offense, which works better with big targets, the best fit would be Robinson (6-foot-3), but there's risk because of his knee.

The Jets have so many other needs that I'd be surprised if they make receiver a high priority in free agency. Don't forget, they still have two of Mike Maccagnan's draft picks, Chad Hansen and ArDarius Stewart, waiting in the wings.

3. Not-so-special K: The big storyline during the run-up to free agency (March 14 is when players can sign new deals) will be quarterback Kirk Cousins, who could be the most coveted player if the Washington Redskins let him hit the open market. Some team -- maybe the Jets -- will give him an extraordinary amount of money and we'll spend the next few years debating whether he's worth it.

The potential suitors might want to consider this less-than-enthusiastic evaluation from former Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan, who was around Cousins for the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

"He's a good player. Is he special? I don't see special," McCloughan said last week on Denver's KKFN-FM 104.3 The Fan. "But also, we were still building a roster around him to make him special. Jay Gruden does a great job playcalling. Sean McVay did a great job playcalling to put him in positions to be successful.

"He's talented," McCloughan continued. "Talent is good at quarterback in the NFL. He's won games. I know his record overall is not over .500 -- I know he has not won a playoff game -- but he's competitive. He works his tail off. He's so methodical. Every day he has planned out. He's always in the building, he's always watching tape, he's always talking to coaches, he was talking to me. From the standpoint of intangibles, they're excellent. You just need to have some talent around him because you don't want him to be throwing the ball 35 to 40 times to win the game."


4. Special K: ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. did a media conference call last week, and the hot topic was the top quarterbacks: Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen. A few quotes from Kiper, whose opinions should be of interest to quarterback-starved Jets fans:

On USC's Darnold: "Darnold just didn't have the great year anticipated. Came into the year looking like the clear-cut No. 1 pick overall. Struggled. Some bad habits were developed. Made some bad decisions, some poor throws, some ill-advised throws, a lot of fumbles. Ball security was an issue. Holding the ball with one hand like a loaf of bread in the pocket. There's some things he needs to clean up."

On UCLA's Rosen: "From pure passer, from a being under center, three-, five-, seven-step drop, the most artistic picture-perfect, pure-passing quarterback is Josh Rosen."

On Wyoming's Allen: "He’s got the physical capability to do the job in the weather conditions, like Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Wentz, quarterbacks he'll be compared to for that size and the physicality and the arm strength and the mobility and the toughness and the competitiveness for playing in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Baltimore every year."

On Allen's 56 percent completion rate: "Stats are for losers, in my opinion, in a lot of ways. The kid won. You can say, 'Well, look at his record.' When he was out there, they won football games. A lot of guys have stats and can't get their teams over .500."