Jets: Top free agent wide receiver options remaining after the Mike Evans signing

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (New York Jets, New York Giants free agent target)
Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Evans is back with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, taking another elite wide receiver off of the free agency market for the New York Jets to acquire. What was once a promising field of talent is nearly no more.

WR Tee Higgins is also returning to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Jets now have an important decision to make with time winding down.

Should they invest in the next best available option in Calvin Ridley? Would it be wise to supplement their receiving corp with solid veteran contributors and spend big elsewhere?

What will the Jets do to strengthen their receiving unit?

Brian Costello of the New York Post laid out the Jets’ options in response to those key questions they’ll have to answer in short order:

“After Ridley, there is a drop-off in the market. The next group of receivers is Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Gabe Davis, Darnell Mooney, Tyler Boyd and Odell Beckham Jr. These players should be in the $10 million-$15 million per year range, which may be more palatable for the Jets,” Costello said.

New York needs another dynamic receiver next to Garrett Wilson. That’ll give the increasingly injured Aaron Rodgers the best chance to lead a deep playoff run in 2024.

The Jets could indeed sign Ridley even though he missed 11 games in 2021 and the entire 2022 season due to injury. The questions his injury history poses may dampen the gravity of his 1,016-yard receiving season last year to the Jets’ front office.

Are there any other reliable No. 2 options available outside of Calvin Ridley?

Of the other options at wideout, Brown and Beckham Jr. have the winning pedigree and the hands to mesh well with Rodgers.

Particularly in Beckham Jr.’s case, the 2022 Super Bowl winner averaged 16.1 yards per reception, which ranked No. 8 in the NFL last season. Once looked at as a No. 1 option without hesitation, the question is whether Beckham Jr. can be a reliable No. 2 on the outside, mainly for health reasons. He’s out there for the Jets to pursue.

Ridley’s name has been popular among NFL supporters who see him as a valuable option to any team. At the end of the day, the Jets need another viable pass-catcher. They can’t have Breece Hall be second in receiving yards, no matter how good of a receiving option he is out of the backfield. What transpires between now and the NFL Draft on April 16 remains to be seen.

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