FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:
1. What's up at WR? A handful of high-profile wide receivers have changed teams in recent days: Davante Adams. Allen Robinson. Amari Cooper. Robert Woods. To a lesser degree, there was Christian Kirk and D.J. Chark.
The Jets, one of only four teams without a 1,000-yard receiver or tight end on their roster, have stayed out of the wide receiver market except for the re-signing of backup Braxton Berrios. Quarterback Zach Wilson desperately needs another perimeter option, so it's fair to wonder:
What's the plan?
General manager Joe Douglas has three options: Free-agent leftover, trade or draft. For him, and for the Jets, the latter two aren't roads frequently traveled.
The Jets haven't used a first-round pick on a wide receiver since 2001 (Santana Moss), tied with the Seattle Seahawks (Koren Robinson) for the longest active drought in the league. Obviously, that's not a Douglas thing; he's had only two drafts.
What is a Douglas thing is that, despite 16 player trades in two-plus years, he has yet to make a splashy move for an impact player. He's willing to make a bold move, now more than ever, but he hasn't found a deal that makes sense. The ideal trade would be for a receiver in his prime, so he could grow with Wilson, but those are hard to find. The Twitterverse has been buzzing for weeks about Seattle Seahawks star DK Metcalf, but teams have been told he’s not available.
Another receiver went off the board Saturday, when the Los Angeles Rams traded Woods to the Tennessee Titans for a 2023 sixth-round pick -- a potential steal. The Jets monitored the situation, but it doesn’t sound like there was keen interest. His age -- 30 on April 10 -- was a turnoff.
The Jets have been shopping for a receiver, but the market changed due to tags, extensions and one ridiculous contract (see: Kirk). Sensing the shift, Douglas wisely pivoted by signing two tight ends, C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin. But he still needs a wideout.
The hunch here is that Douglas signs a midlevel free agent and breaks the drought by using a first-round pick on a receiver, perhaps USC's Drake London or Ohio State's Garrett Wilson. As usual, it's a deep receiver class, but there are no Ja'Marr Chase-caliber players in this year's crop.
You hope, for Wilson's sake, that Douglas is able to deliver a weapon.
2. 'Dirty' duo: The additions of tight ends C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin will mean an increase in "12" personnel (one RB/two TE/two WR). They ran it a fair amount last season (20% of the offensive snaps), often with Trevon Wesco as a fullback/tight end hybrid.
Now they can run it with two proven tight ends, meaning the offense will look more like the Green Bay Packers and less like the San Francisco 49ers -- two cousins in the West Coast/Shanahan/LaFleur family. The 49ers, with standout fullback Kyle Juszczyk, prefer a two-back offense. The Jets dabbled with that, but Wesco didn't work out in that role.
Uzomah believes his partnership with Conklin will produce big results.
"When I heard the news [that he signed], I was like, 'I need his number. I need to talk to my guy real quick and let him know we've got this tandem in the tight end room that's about to be dirty," Uzomah said.
Conklin said he and Uzomah have "unlimited" potential, adding, "I think me and C.J. can be one of the best, if not the best tight end duo."
3. Did you know? Only once in the past 10 years has a Jets tight end eclipsed 500 yards in a season -- Chris Herndon (502) in 2018. He flamed out and got traded to the Minnesota Vikings, becoming Conklin's backup.
4. No dibs on Thibs: A lot of fans want the Jets to draft Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux because they need an edge rusher (so what else is new?) and he's a big name. Frankly, I'd be surprised if they take Thibodeaux with the fourth pick.
One AFC scout called him "overrated," saying Thibodeaux lacks the natural bend to be an elite outside pass-rusher. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay has questioned his fire. Some talent evaluators wonder about his commitment to football, saying he spends too much time talking about off-the-field interests.
Let's be clear: These opinions didn't come from anyone affiliated with the Jets, but the emerging narrative makes me believe he's not a fit in coach Robert Saleh's "all-gas, no brake" world.
5. Family affair: When Darrelle Revis was selected by the Jets in 2007, he celebrated at a draft party at his home in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. One of the people in the house that day was a 10-year-old cousin named Jordan Whitehead.
The same Whitehead who just signed a two-year, $14.5 million contract to play safety for Revis' old team.
Whitehead said he has a good relationship with Revis, whom he considers a big brother. Revis congratulated him on his new deal, offering some words of wisdom. According to Whitehead, Revis told him the Jets are "a great organization and you're just a piece to the fire that needs to start burning."
Now all they need is a match.
6. Ball hawk needed: The addition of Whitehead, along with the return of Lamarcus Joyner, improves the safety situation, but the defense still lacks a playmaker on the back end. Some folks in the scouting community still think the Jets could draft Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton, who would be the ideal complement to Whitehead. The Jets need a deep stopper after allowing a league-high 33 completions of 20-plus air yards.
7. Buy high: The most impressive thing about the Jets' free-agent class? Statistically, Uzomah, Conklin, cornerback D.J. Reed and defensive end Jacob Martin are coming off career years. It shows they're ascending players.
8. Chilly drafts: The departures of safety Marcus Maye (New Orleans Saints) and defensive tackle Folorunso Fatukasi (Jacksonville Jaguars) were yet more cruel reminders of the Jets' terrible draft history.
It means the longest-tenured draft pick on the roster is defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd (third round, 2018), who re-signed for the veterans' minimum ($1 million), plus a modest $50,000 signing bonus. The last draft pick to get a multiyear extension was wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (sixth round, 2014), who played only one game in a four-year extension due to injuries.
9. Money myth: This notion that Douglas doesn't spend money in free agency is a bit deceiving. For the second year in a row, he has doled out more than $80 million in guarantees. The difference between him and some other GMs is that he spreads it around instead of paying top dollar at one position. It's the right approach, though it has yet to deliver tangible results on the field.
10. The last word: Before the Super Bowl, Uzomah made headlines by saying he'd bathe in Cincinnati's famous Skyline chili if the Bengals defeat the Los Angeles Rams. Asked what he'd do if the Jets make the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, Uzomah said, "I might dress up like [Alexander] Hamilton and walk down the street. I'm a big musical guy."