As a consolation prize, the New York Jets signed wide receiver Breshad Perriman just hours after Robby Anderson skipped town for Charlotte.
The former No. 1 receiver opted to sign a two-year, $20 million deal with the Carolina Panthers, leaving the Jets with a momentary hole at the top of their pass-catching depth chart before inking Perriman to a one-year, $8 million pact.
For the “glass half full” faction of Jets-world, the Perriman signing provides plenty of promise.
He’s a speedy vertical threat who ran a 4.24-second 40-yard-dash at his pro day that is an immediate replacement for Anderson.
While he’s been nothing short of a journeyman over his first four NFL seasons — playing for three different teams — the 26-year-old showed an inordinate amount of promise in the final five games of the 2019 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After posting just 11 catches for 139 yards in his first nine games of the season, Perriman went off in his last five games — wrangling in 25 catches for 506 yards and five touchdowns.
Perriman also averaged 17.9 yards per reception, 2.9 yards better than Anderson’s career-best mark, indicating that he could be more effective on the outside for Sam Darnold.
But the newest Jets’ limited sample size doesn’t erase other concerns that come with his game.
In 51 career games, he has a catch rate of just 48.7%. For comparison’s sake, there were 87 pass catchers last season that had a catch rate of 60% or better, per NFL Next Gen Stats.
That’s not the kind of consistency a developing quarterback like Sam Darnold needs.
Neither is dealing in hypotheticals that Perriman can be a top-line receiver for the Jets when he’s never had more than 36 receptions in a season.
Now the Jets are looking at a wide-receiving corps. of Perriman, Jamison Crowder, Quincy Enunwa — if his neck can hold up — and a mix of Josh Doctson, Braxton Berrios, and Vyncint Smith, among others.
A group like that doesn’t instill much confidence, especially when Darnold’s development in the NFL is entering its “make-or-break” phase.
It’s why the Jets must strongly consider taking a wide receiver with the No. 11 pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Given the depth of this year’s class and their position, the Jets have a golden opportunity to take a true No. 1 receiver to create a long-standing partnership alongside Darnold.
Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, both from Alabama, alongside Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb are can’t-miss prospects — all of whom are expected to be available when the Jets are on the clock.