Breshad Perriman is a playmaker, not a consolation prize.
At least that’s how coach Adam Gase views the Jets’ newest veteran wide receiver.
“I’m excited to see what he can do in this offense,” Gase said Monday, in his first comments about the former first-round draft pick. “His skill set fits in well with what we do. We feel like he can do multiple things for us. He can create explosive plays. He can do some good stuff after the catch.”
The Jets treated receiver the same in free agency as in the NFL Draft: let the top options go and find second-tier value. Six weeks before they passed on Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb to draft first-round tackle Mekhi Becton, the Jets didn’t wade into the deep pool for the Cowboys’ Amari Cooper.
When Sam Darnold’s go-to deep threat Robby Anderson left for the Panthers, the Jets immediately enacted Plan B: Signing Perriman to a one-year contract worth up to $8 million to see if his breakout strong finish last season was a harbinger of things to come. He caught 25 passes for 506 yards and five touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ final five games.
“It’s going to be about getting him caught up to speed as fast as possible,” Gase said as the virtual offseason program got underway this week, “making sure that whenever that time comes we can get on the grass, that he’ll be able to go and be able to play fast.”
With leading receiver Jamison Crowder, Perriman and rookie second-round pick Denzel Mims atop the depth chart, receiver is labeled a weakness for the Jets. Demaryius Thomas, a starter last season, remains a free agent.
“I know everybody keeps focusing on the wide receivers, which I think is going to be a pretty good group,” Gase said. “I look at our tight ends, our running backs, I feel like we’re in a good spot. Who knows what will be added from here on out?”
To Gase’s point, running back Le’Veon Bell made 66 catches last season and his new caddy, rookie fourth-round pick La’Mical Perine, had 40 as a senior at Florida. Darnold’s comfort level throwing to tight ends is seen in Chris Herndon (39 catches in 2018) and Ryan Griffin (34 in 2019), who finally will be paired up in 2020.
Griffin, who underwent ankle surgery in December, is expected to be ready to go if training camp starts on time. Herndon was limited to 18 snaps last season after a four-game PEDs suspension and multiple injuries.
“He’s a guy we’re excited to get back and can’t wait to get going to see how he’ll fit in with everything,” Gase said. “We expected him to be a big part of the offense last year and we didn’t even get that opportunity. We’re adding a guy that’s a very good player that’s finally going to get back in the mix of this thing.”
Is it enough for a young quarterback?
Baker Mayfield (Browns) has Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry. Josh Allen (Bills) has John Brown and Stefon Diggs. Kyler Murray (Cardinals) has DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald. Drew Lock (Broncos) will welcome top-two-round picks Jeudy and K.J. Hamler with Courtland Sutton.
Gase hinted general manager Joe Douglas might not be done helping Darnold.
“Joe’s been fairly aggressive as far as whenever it comes to trading for guys or having to make some kind of move,” Gase said. “We’ve got a long way to go before we start the season. You never know what kind of opportunities are going to come about.”