As another campaign of hope approaches, the New York Jets offseason has now drawn a step closer to going down. The club, and the rest of the National Football League, is just two weeks away from the start of free agency. While New York doesn’t face the most fierce of challenges as regards crucial departures, there will still be some important decisions to be made by general manager Joe Douglas. One of those notable starting players set to leave in 2021 is wide receiver Breshad Perriman.
The Jets’ receiving corps remains a topic of discussion for a second offseason in a row. Unfortunately for the organization, this is for all the wrong reasons. Throughout the 2020 season, the team’s passing offense finished as the second-least productive in the whole league. Moreover, the only team behind them, the Baltimore Ravens, threw the ball less than any other team in the league. This makes it even more obvious that the Jets had the worst passing offense in the NFL.
That came after the issue of the receiving core was a vital one ahead of the Jets offseason in 2020. During those few months, the group saw its main weapon for the previous four years, Robby Anderson, join the free-agent market. Furthermore, he would go on to join the Carolina Panthers on a two-year deal. That way, the team was left with its ace Jamison Crowder to build the core around, with wide opportunities and cap-space availability for the Jets offseason this year.
What seemed like a letdown in that department at the time ended up as a historical struggle. Players like Chris Hogan and rookie Denzel Mims didn’t add much to the Jets’ pool of pass-catchers that already lacked depth. However, it is more than fair to say there was no disappointment as big as the display Breshad Perriman brought on during the lone season of his $6.5 million contract with New York.
Now, twelve months later, he is one of the most notable players who are scheduled to leave when free agency starts on March 17th. Rumors have been scarce when it comes to the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver. However, now it seems like a bigger mistake than ever for New York, or any other team, to inquire for him this spring.
Jets Offseason – Breshad Perriman: 2020 Performance
In short, Breshad Perriman’s performance during his fifth year in the professional game was just as bad as advertised. However, to get his full story across, the best approach would be to start from his expectations and trends prior to the Jets’ miserable 2-14 campaign.
Perriman had spent the previous four seasons with Baltimore, the Cleveland Browns, and Tampa Bay. Needless to say, his number heading into that Jets offseason had been unimpressive even for a long-threat target averaging 16.4 yards per reception. On the NFL level, this would be indicative that a player is mostly utilized as a downfield threat. Nonetheless, he had caught just over 48 percent of his nearly 195 targets over that span.
Yet, his agent – Drew Rosenhaus – was still somehow able to pursue Joe Douglas and company to give him a one-year deal worth $6.5 million.
The swerve from the first paragraph of this part of the article doesn’t imply his story, let alone throughout 2020, was in any way interesting. Last season, Breshad Perriman posted numbers very identical to his averages during the first four seasons of his NFL tenure. Perriman succeeded in catching only an abysmal 50 percent of his 60 targets (his career-high is 69). Besides, he missed four games due to an injury.
A catch percentage in the 50% range is very weak even for a long-distance weapon in an air raid. While the Jets’ receivers in the intermediate game were substantially more successful in making the most of their opportunities, the same cannot be said for their downfield targets. Although it is natural for such pass-catchers to post lower catch percentages, Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims were even below those acceptable values at which the long-threat role justifies itself.
But Perriman wasn’t just mediocre as a niche long-distance wide receiver over the course of the twelve games in which he appeared in 2020. His 60 targets were actually the second-most on the team, after Crowder. This effectively means he was used more often than short-game pass-catchers such as Braxton Berrios and tight end Chris Herndon. Interestingly enough, both of them had catch percentages drastically higher than Perriman’s and didn’t spend any time on the IR list.
Only Mims could have registered more targets if not for an injury. However, should that have been the case, he, as a receiver catching just 52% with 15.5 yards per catch, would have just proven that point. Meanwhile, the Jets could have been even worse in that scenario. But that, again, is a matter of depth at the position. That happens to be something the team’s corps has been crying for entering the Jets offseason.
Perriman being placed further down the field than Berrios, or Herndon, or Crowder, as well as having a bigger workload, albeit by a hair, would justify on paper why his catch percentage is lower. Moreover, him being used so frequently is technically a coaching/play-calling mistake.
However, a great deal of first-choice long-threat receivers, even with a bigger workload, had much better catch percentage figures than Breshad Perriman. Nothing shows that better than the following stat. Out of 15 wide receivers with more than 60 targets and at least 15 yards per reception in 2020, Breshad Perriman was 14th in catch percentage. Only the Denver Broncos‘ Jerry Jeudy was more unstable down the field than Perriman.
Although he had an injury and the Jets’ overall passing workload was affected by their offense consuming less time on the field, Breshad Perriman was given enough time to be amongst the league’s most used long-threats. As proven during his last campaign, he is quite possibly one of the worst players to be trusted in that post. Now, as he enters free agency during the Jets offseason, there’s little chance the team brings him back. And rightfully so.
Jets Offseason – Breshad Perriman: What Do the Numbers Mean Going Forward?
While the Jets are likely going to put the wide-receiving corps near the top of their needs list, there’s no indication Joe Douglas is thinking of boosting neither the short game nor the running faction. Should he not learn from the 2020 season and still not address these groups, the Jets would be in trouble again. However, if they re-sign Perriman, the failure would be of the most epic proportions.
Breshad Perriman catching so few of his targets means that he is turning opportunities for a better receiver in a zero-gains. He is not only worse than most long-threats in the league. Moreover, Perriman has also wasted an intermediate-game type of workload. As already stated, he is about the worst candidate to make the most out of the second-biggest workload on the team, amounting to about 12 percent of all passing attempts.
He might end up much cheaper than the $6.5 million he received in his 2020 deal due to his disappointing campaign. However, New York would be better off spending their resources efficiently during the Jets offseason. In contrast, Perriman has established himself as an asset not worth inquiring for based on his 2020 numbers, as well as his previous averages.
Jets Offseason – Breshad Perriman: Should NY Re-Sign Him, Impact, Alternatives
It’s fair to say that Breshad Perriman played up to a level that seems like his everyday level. Moreover, his best-case ceiling doesn’t look to be much higher, either. Therefore, Perriman turned out to be just as disappointing as experts had predicted him to be. Moreover, he also proved us right in turning in a miserable 2020 campaign.
His price is very likely to drop (compared to his previous deal) once the Jets offseason begins. This year’s free-agent class presents a great deal of depth at wide receiver. Not only is his bad year likely to affect his value but the potential demand for Perriman doesn’t look promising. There are many better long-threat pass-catchers on the FA market, including a few with comparable workload but much better efficiency.
The New Jersey-based franchise has many possibilities entering the 2021 Jets offseason. Per OverTheCap, the Jets are projected to have $77 million in salary-cap space. Of course, between improving the secondary and the offense, their biggest priority should be to spend them efficiently and wisely, putting real impact above price and perception. However, no matter how cheap he could go on to be, Breshad Perriman can hardly provide any benefit to the Jets offense.
It has probably become clear that this isn’t a piece supportive of bringing the 27-year-old Georgia native back. Just the opposite. So, should New York pass on Perriman during the Jets offseason, they will have a plethora of eye-opening options. Here are the three best ones.
Back in 2018, Corey Davis had a subpar year with an unimpressive catch percentage of 58.0%. Since then, the showing he has put on has undergone constant improvement. All of that led to a terrific 2020 campaign. This past season, Davis had a 70.7% catch percentage on 92 targets, tying for second-best amongst receivers with more than 60 targets and 15.0 yards a catch.
After the great year he had for the Tennessee Titans, Davis surprisingly seems a step cheaper than the rest of his similar competitors on the market. According to Spotrac, he is estimated to get $9.8 million on his next contract. This is only $3.5 million more than the Jets paid Perriman twelve months ago.
Nonetheless, the team has to be wary of a risk they would be taking by acquiring Corey Davis during the 2021 Jets offseason. Despite his gradual improvement, his 2020 figures are in sharp contrast to his previous three years in Tennessee. However, his cheap price, projected below $10 million, makes that a less hazardous move.
With an average of 12.7 yards per catch, Marvin Jones has thrived in the short passing game. Similarly, he would join Jamison Crowder in that department rather than down the field. However, he would add a huge boost to the consistency of the Jets’ passing group. At $10.5 million a year, per Spotrac, Marvin Jones could be New York’s best chance to get a valuable intermediate-game receiver and still manage to add another target after that.
T.Y. Hilton hasn’t made the Pro Bowl since 2017. However, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been solid in that three-year span. The Indianapolis Colts‘ star pass-catcher has posted a catch percentage of 63.0% in 281 targets since the start of the 2018 season.
That might seem underwhelming for a receiver in the intermediate game. Yet, T.Y. Hilton is in the same boat as Jones. New York could get their first new receiver during the Jets offseason at a price much lower than the more high-profile assets with comparable recent-memory capabilities. According to Spotrac, that estimated price is $10.1 million per season.
Main Image Credit
Jets offseason. Jets offseason. Jets offseason. Jets offseason. Jets offseason.