Jets miss out on wide receiver target who signs with rival Bills

Jan 28, 2024; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (11) warms up prior to the AFC Championship football game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets’ AFC East rival Buffalo Bills signed a free agent wide receiver linked to the Jets in former Kansas City Chiefs star Marquez Valdes-Scantling on Tuesday.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero broke the news on X (h/t Heavy Sports’ Paul A. Esden Jr.). Further, ESPN revealed that Valdes-Scantling’s deal is for one year at up to $4.5 million:

Jets lose opportunity to team up Aaron Rodgers with former teammate Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Nov 5, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (83) celebrates with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) after catching a pass to score a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (83) celebrates with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) after catching a pass to score a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Valdes-Scantling’s name was placed next to the Jets heavily due to the four seasons he played alongside Jets starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers from 2018 to 2021 with the Green Bay Packers. He was one of Rodgers’ favorite targets on the outside and helped him win two NFL MVP awards in 2020 and 2021.

The 29-year-old is a big-play wideout who could have helped the Jets on the outside along with featured receivers Garrett Wilson and Mike Williams.

Valdes-Scantling could have added depth to the Jets’ receiving corp

Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (New York Jets target) (11) celebrates a touchdown catch against the San Francisco 49ers in the second half in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (11) celebrates a touchdown catch against the San Francisco 49ers in the second half in Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida native led the NFL with 20.9 yards per reception in 2020 and averaged 15 yards per reception in 2023. The Jets struggled to generate big plays in the air last year, but with Rodgers healthy again, a player like “MVS” would have been another dynamic pass-catcher for the four-time league MVP to launch to down the field.

Valdes-Scantling gives the Bills a third deep-ball threat for next season

However, he now joins a Bills team that traded away superstar wideout Stefon Diggs to the Houston Texans on April 3. Valdes-Scantling will enter the fold as one of Bills QB Josh Allen’s most talented receivers next season. Buffalo won the division last year at 11-6 and will be a foe for the Jets to deal with in their quest to reach the Super Bowl.

New York will have to watch out for Buffalo’s aerial attack in 2024, even without Diggs. Along with fellow offseason acquisition WR Curtis Samuel and the Bills’ remaining trio of pass-catchers in WR Khalil Shakir and TE Dalton Kincaid — all three of whom put up at least 600 receiving yards in 2023 — Allen will still have multiple options to utilize to spread out his offense.

Valdes-Scantling gives Allen a second wideout with over 15 yards per reception from last season. The Jets’ standout secondary will have to gear up for the Bills in their regular season matchups and potential playoff meeting this fall.

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