New York Jets' Zach Wilson needs more weapons, with Denzel Mims' future up in air

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Unless Zach Wilson melts down in the final game, the New York Jets will go into the offseason feeling good about the quarterback position. While he can't be considered a can't-miss, Justin Herbert-type star, Wilson has demonstrated enough improvement over the past four weeks to make you believe there's growth potential.

Now it's on the front office to help the kid. In other words, get him some weapons.

Once again, general manager Joe Douglas needs to rebuild the receiving corps. He has two keepers in Elijah Moore and Corey Davis, although neither one is a true WR1. After them, there are only question marks. Braxton Berrios, Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole will be free agents, and Denzel Mims has fallen so far that coach Robert Saleh couldn't formulate an explanation for why Mims -- in uniform -- didn't play a single snap in Sunday's 28-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I don't have that answer right now," Saleh said.

Mims could be heading south on the road to "Bust" town, a 2020 second-round pick who has yet to score an NFL touchdown. On Sunday, he was bounced out of the B-team lineup, replaced by Jeff Smith, a former undrafted free agent. Moore, Davis and Crowder sat out with injuries -- again.

It says a lot about Wilson that he was able to put 24 points on the board against a championship-caliber defense with Smith, Cole and Berrios as his top three wideouts. Playing with a patchwork receiving corps, the 2021 No. 2 overall pick has gone four straight games without an interception -- 135 straight passes. That's encouraging. He still hasn't reached double digits for touchdown passes (nine), but at least he's not causing him team to lose on a weekly basis.

"Zach was outstanding," Saleh said after the crushing, last-minute loss to the defending Super Bowl champs.

Wilson completed 19 of 33 passes for 234 yards, and he was victimized by a couple of drops, including a costly one by Cole, a free agent (one year, $5.5 million) who has disappointed.

The Jets should let Cole (23 catches, 360 yards, 0 TDs on the season) walk in free agency. Ditto for Crowder, a reliable slot receiver when healthy. Unfortunately, he has battled soft-tissue injuries the past two seasons. He took a $5 million pay cut last offseason, an indication he wasn't valued as much by this coaching staff as the previous one.

The Jets could try to trade Mims, although a trade won't bring back much. Douglas missed on Mims, a physically talented player who hasn't been embraced by this coaching staff. Saleh defends him publicly -- well, except Sunday -- but actions speak louder than words. Consider: The coaches preferred a practice-squad player named D.J. Montgomery over Mims on the depth chart against the Bucs. 'Nuf said.

Clearly, Berrios has to be a priority. You could make the argument he's the Jets' MVP. He has five touchdowns -- two receiving, two rushing and one on a kickoff return. He was barely used on offense at the start of the season, but he has played his way into a prominent role. The dude makes plays.

On the most important offensive play of the game -- the ill-fated, fourth-and-2 from the Bucs' 7 -- Saleh wanted the ball to go to Berrios on an end-around. As it turned out, Wilson was stuffed on a quarterback sneak.

"Braxton is one of our best players and we wanted the ball in his hands," Saleh said.

If the Jets can re-sign Berrios, whose asking price must be rising by the week, they will have a decent trio with Moore and Davis. They can add another receiver with one of their four picks in the first two rounds, preferably a big target with vertical speed -- you know, the kind of player the 6-foot-3 Mims was supposed to be. Alabama's Jameson Williams certainly could be a possibility in the top 10. They also need a pass-catching tight end. Badly.

Douglas has to help his quarterback. It's not a maybe. It's a must.