The Jets’ wide-receiving corps certainly needs a lot of help heading into the 2020 season. Even after an offseason overhaul, it might be New York’s worst personnel group of the whole 2020 roster.
After Robby Anderson departed for free agency, only Jamison Crowder remained from last year’s core. The club released Quincy Enunwa after another stint on the Injured Reserve list. Meanwhile, former Buccaneer Breshad Perriman came in on a one-year deal. Also, Denzel Mims was drafted in the second round out of Baylor.
This is not a group either Joe Douglas or Adam Gase can be proud of. Therefore, the Jets decided to add another piece to ensure at least some depth to the receiving core. Douglas added former Patriots pass-catcher Chris Hogan on a one-year contract.
Through eight NFL seasons, Hogan has yet to prove himself as a reliable target in either the intermediate or long passing game. He caught only 41 passes during his most productive year. Meanwhile, at the age of 32, the possibility of 2020 being his best gets slimmer by the day. However, he could be a solid pickup at this price.
Career Track Record
Despite playing eight NFL seasons with three teams, Hogan has always been pretty modest when it comes to production as a pass-catcher. He caught 41 throws during his best season in 2014 with the Bills. However, he wasn’t a starting receiver yet at that point and he had started just two of 16 games.
Hogan started more than ten games on only one occasion. This was none other than his debut year with the Patriots in 2016. In 14 games started, the Monmouth product was responsible for just 58 catches and a yards/game average of 17.9. This might be a “just”, but both figures come close or are career-high for him. The same goes for a catch percentage of 65.5.
Buffalo, New England, and Carolina were all unable to get a wildly productive year, let alone a stint, out of Hogan. But what if he was a bigger part of one of those three offensive units?
For starters, Hogan might have actually been underutilized when he was healthy and played to an up-and-down standard. This is not as damaging for the team as it is for the player because different schemes require different versatility plans. However, it does leave the particular receiver in a smaller role, leading his market value to crash after his contract is up.
In Hogan’s case, he wasn’t able to deliver and stick around in a wideout role on three different teams, with three different schemes and game-plans. This might already be a red flag, in addition to his 32 years of age, but Joe Douglas’s newfound genius could mean satisfying production at a low price.
Between 2014 and 2018, Hogan was one of the most efficient low-usage receivers in the league. Out of all receivers with over 125 catches and fewer than 186 catches, he had the seventh-best catch percentage at 63.0.
Of course, a bigger workload would mean a big regression to the mean. And brutally so, in some cases. Despite being more reliable than most other third/fourth-string receivers out there, he could be a bust if given a bigger role. However, evaluators might have undervalued him enough to only give him back-to-back contracts.
Simple laws of statistical projections show that there’s little probability for Hogan to have his best year beyond his current age of 32. Especially considering his less-than-stellar numbers thus far in his career. However, he could be in a pretty good position to bounce back after a couple of injury-ridden campaigns.
Where He Stands on the Jets Roster
ESPN projects Chris Hogan as a No. 4 wide receiver, behind Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, and Breshad Perriman. After Josh Doctson opted out and Vyncint Smith was sidelined for eight weeks, he became a must-have depth asset.
Without an option behind the top three, even the biggest change of plans could mean an even bigger disaster for the Jets’ wide-receiving corps. Moreover, there’s more than enough worrying signs of that group falling shorthanded as the season progresses. Mims has already had hamstring issues while Breshad Perriman’s lack of significant track record as a starter sets him up for a tough first year in the Meadowlands.
If Chris Hogan stays healthy, unlike last year, he could take on a workload bigger than during any other year in his career. This would mean his efficiency might partly come to life. This would lead to good dividends to a pretty shallow Jets receiving core.
While he could be a good depth option, him joining the top trio would not be a preferable scenario for Adam Gase. This would likely be a consequence of injury/underperformance by one of NY’s best weapons. Which in turn weakens Sam Darnold‘s firepower, even with Hogan.
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