Despite his trade request last week, wideout Denzel Mims remained on the Jets as teams set their 53-man rosters. Speaking with reporters today, Mims expressed frustration at his situation and reiterated his desire to start.
“I feel like I already pretty much [showed I could start], from OTAs until now,” Mims said (via ESPN’s Rich Cimini). “I mean, they’re pretty set on who they want.
“I feel like, yeah, I feel like [the coaches] have made their mind up, honestly. But I feel like I can change their mind on that. I feel like I’ve been doing that. Their minds are pretty made up, though.”
Mims also mentioned that he expects to be inactive for the Jets Week 1 contest against the Ravens, and he noted that he doesn’t have any issues playing special teams. However, the receiver made it clear that he wants to play, something that probably won’t be possible when he’s behind a deep wide receiver group of Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Braxton Berrios, and rookie Garrett Wilson. Those frustrations have led the organization to surmise that Mims doesn’t necessarily want to play elsewhere.
“I wouldn’t say he wants to be somewhere else; he wants to play,” GM Joe Douglas said. “He wants to start. Denzel is very confident. He has voiced that, that he wants to be a starter. Ultimately, you want a team full of guys that feel like they should be the No. 1 guy.”
While the Jets didn’t end up trading the former second-round pick, they still fielded calls on the wideout. According to Connor Hughes of SNYtv (on Twitter), the Vikings, Cowboys, Seahawks, and Panthers were among the teams that reached out to the Jets. However, New York was seeking a fourth-round pick in return for the receiver, and no team was willing to meet that asking price.
As the acquisitions of Haason Reddick, Robbie Anderson, Matt Ioannidis and others have shown, Matt Rhule has been quite eager to bring in his former college players. The former Temple and Baylor head coach appears to have one of his Waco charges on the radar now.
The Panthers have contacted the Jets on disgruntled wide receiver Denzel Mims, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. Rhule has eyed Mims since last season, according to ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini (on Twitter).
This would seemingly be a nice landing spot for Mims, who at least knows Carolina’s third-year HC well. Rhule was at Baylor during Mims’ final three seasons at the Big 12 program; the 6-foot-3 target eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards during the 2017 and ’19 seasons with the Bears. His NFL stay has not produced anything close to this production.
Mims has just 31 catches for 490 yards in two seasons; he has yet to score an NFL touchdown. Long a release candidate, Mims is now on a team that used a top-10 pick on a wideout (Garrett Wilson) and re-signed Braxton Berrios this offseason. Corey Davis and Elijah Moore‘s statuses do not appear to leave Mims much room for work. Then again, the Jets — perhaps as a trade-value booster — view Mims as a player they would like to have on their 53-man roster. Robert Saleh said as much Friday, via SNY’s Connor Hughes (on Twitter). They are open to moving him as well. Mims is also not giving the Jets enough on special teams, though Saleh said (via Hughes) the Baylor product has improved.
Carolina extended D.J. Moore this offseason and has Temple alum Anderson alongside him. Rhule signed Anderson after his four-year Jets tenure elapsed in 2020. The team also drafted Terrace Marshallin last year’s second round. Marshall has missed time due to a hamstring injury in camp, however. This came after a low-key rookie season, one in which Marshall caught just 17 passes for 138 yards. Shi Smith, chosen four rounds after Marshall last year, has played well during camp, per Person.
Joe Douglas and Scott Fitterer obviously have a recent history on the trade front, having negotiated a Sam Darnold swap that saw three picks — in multiple drafts — going from Carolina to New York. Two years remain on Mims’ second-round contract.
AUGUST 26: The Jets plan to grant Mims’ request, Connor Hughes of SNY tweets. Although the team is obviously not planning to unload him for the sake of doing so, Mims’ career to this point will not yield the Jets much in a trade. That said, Hughes adds the team likes Mims’ fit as part of its receiving corps.
AUGUST 25: A former Jets second-round pick wants out of New York. Wide receiver Denzel Mims has requested a trade, according to agent Ron Slavin (via Brian Costello of the New York Post on Twitter).
“It’s just time,” Slavin wrote in a statement. “Denzel has tried in good faith but it’s clear he does not have a future with the Jets. Denzel vowed to come back better than ever this season and he worked extremely hard in the offseason to make that happen. Still, he has been given no opportunities to work with the starting offense to get into a groove with them. We feel at this point a trade is our only option since the Jets have repeatedly told us they will not release him. [General manager] Joe Douglas has always done right by Denzel and we trust that he will do everything in his power to find him another team where Denzel can be a contributor.”
This news doesn’t come as a shock to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, with the reporter tweeting that this has been building for a while. Slavin met with Douglas a few weeks ago, and Mims “has expressed his frustration” to head coach Robert Saleh. The receiver clearly remains unsatisfied with his role, leading to today’s trade request.
Mims had a standout career at Baylor, leading to the Jets selecting him in the second round of the 2020 draft. He didn’t do anything memorable as a rookie, but he still hauled in 23 receptions for 357 yards in nine games following a delayed start to his season. With a new coaching staff in New York for the 2021 campaign, Mims had a tough time carving out a role. While he got into 11 games, he finished with only eight receptions for 133 yards.
It’s been more of the same during training camp and preseason, as Mims has rarely participated with the first-team offense. He does lead the Jets with five preseason receptions (for 68 yards), but he’s clearly behind Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, and rookie first-round pick Garrett Wilson on the depth chart. Braxton Berrios, who finished last season with 46 receptions, was also brought back this offseason on a two-year deal, meaning Mims was eyeing a role as WR5 at best. According to Cimini (on Twitter), Mims was the seventh wideout to see the field during the Jets’ preseason opener, and he effectively held the same spot on the depth chart in the second game (when the starters didn’t play).
As a result of his apparent standing with the team, Mims already found himself on the roster bubble heading toward the end of preseason. Based on his agent’s statement, it’s a bit surprising that the Jets are apparently refusing to cut the WR. The team would see a cap savings of about $700K in 2022 and more than $1.3MM in 2023 (with only $378K in dead cap). Perhaps the front office is hoping to squeeze one more year out of Mims as some extra depth before inevitably cutting bait with him next offseason.
While the Jets can’t expect to recoup the second-round investment, there’s surely a team out there that would bank on Mims’ untapped potential. The situation isn’t entirely unlike that of N’Keal Harry and the Patriots. The former first-round pick requested a trade last year, but the receiver ended up sticking around New England for the 2021 campaign. Harry was finally traded to Chicago for a seventh-round pick this offseason.
Earlier today, the Jets turned a visit from offensive tackle Duane Browninto a two-year deal. He will fill an urgent roster void in the absence of Mekhi Becton, and could provide the team with high-level play if he maintains his Pro Bowl form of last season.
The veteran showed interest in joining the Jets not long after his free agent workout, something which comes as little surprise considering today’s news of a deal. Brown did have other options on the table, though. He had offers outside of New York, including “contending teams,” reports SNY’s Connor Hughes (Twitter link). He adds that Brown admits the playoffs are an unlikely target for the team in 2022, but that the 36-year-old wanted to head to the Big Apple.
Expectations have been raised for Robert Saleh‘s team this year; a campaign which doesn’t result in a postseason berth wouldn’t be considered a failure, but a significant step forward from last year’s 4-13 finish is considered the minimum performance. Brown could help stabilize the OT position, in turn giving a boost to the team’s offense.
Here are some other notes from East Rutherford:
The player Brown was signed to replace, Becton, is scheduled to undergo knee surgery next week (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). The 23-year-old was limited to one game last season, and is expected to be sidelined for all of 2022 after he suffered an avulsion fracture of his right kneecap. Per Rapoport, the procedure will be done by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles; its success will go a long way to determining the former first-rounder’s health (and career future) moving forward.
Denzel Mims remains in trade talk. The 24-year-old wideout has had an underwhelming start to his NFL career, with only 31 catches in two years. He has frequently been named as a standout in training camp, though, something which could boost his trade stock. ESPN’s Rich Cimini writes that Mims could be the victim of a “numbers game” at the position, one which is headed in New York by Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilsonand Braxton Berrios. “It’s up to them if they play me or not,” Mims said, when asked if he has earned a starting role.
In a similar vein, the Jets could be forced to move on from one or more notable names along the defensive line when roster cuts take place at the end of the month. Cimini names Vinny Curryas a cut candidate, given the team’s depth amongst other, younger options. Curry, 34, re-signed on a one-year deal in April, but since he missed the 2021 campaign due to a number of health issues, he has yet to play a game with the Jets. Unless the team opts against carrying three QBs, for instance, the Super Bowl winner could find himself on the outside looking in shortly.
The Jets have moved Mekhi Bectonto right tackle, with Robert Saleh citing George Fant‘s athleticism as making him a better blindside fit. Although the second-year Jets HC said Becton is appropriately athletic for the left tackle post, the former first-round pick has faced steady scrutiny regarding his weight. Becton was rumored to be over 400 pounds last year, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes the third-year blocker was thought to be in the 390s as recently as minicamp, when he would not confirm his weight. That said, Cimini adds Becton looks slimmer at Jets training camp. Saleh said the Louisville product has “got himself into football shape.” While Becton would not confirm his training camp weight, he said he hit the goal he targeted. Becton’s listed weight is 363 pounds. Given the rumblings about Jets dissatisfaction with their largest player’s frame at points, this will continue to be an issue to monitor as he transitions to a new position.
Here is the latest from the AFC East:
James White signed a fourth Patriots contract this offseason, agreeing to a two-year deal worth $5MM. But the longtime Pats passing-down back is recovering from a September 2021 hip subluxation injury, one that could land him on the reserve/PUP list to start this season. The ninth-year vet was still walking with a noticeable limp barely a week before training camp, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. White signed for only $500K guaranteed, and the Patriots drafted two running backs — Pierre Strong (Round 4) andKevin Harris (Round 6) — this year. With the team already having Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson locked into roles, Pro Football Focus’ Doug Kyed wonders if White is a release candidate. White led all backs in receiving yardage from 2015-20 (3,161), Reiss points out, but Strong — he of a 4.37-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, this year’s top running back time — stands to be another option the Pats could use. The Pats slow-played both White and Shane Vereen‘s debuts as passing-down backs, but White’s injury could force the team’s hand.
The Dolphins are moving closer to giving Liam Eichenberg another try as a starter. The 2021 second-round pick is the clear frontrunner to be the team’s left guard starter, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes. Eichenberg and 2020 fourth-rounder Solomon Kindleyare vying for that job, and while pronouncements about O-line battles before padded practices are premature, the Dolphins have more invested in the Notre Dame product. Eichenberg spent more time at left tackle last season, but Terron Armstead will take over there this year.
Denzel Mims has been attached to trade/cut rumors for a bit now, and Cimini predicts the Jets will end up trading the former second-round pick before Week 1. Mims delivered a solid offseason, but his lack of a special teams role and clear place out of the Jets’ top three at the position has long made him vulnerable. The Jets have four receivers they figure to look to before Mims, with Garrett Wilson joining a stable of Corey Davis, Elijah Moore and the recently re-signed Braxton Berrios. Despite being the 2020 No. 59 overall pick, Mims (31 career catches for 490 yards) would not fetch much in a deal.
Expectations were understandably high for Jets receiver Denzel Mimswhen he was drafted in 2020, but he has yet to live up to his billing in the NFL. With questions continuing to be asked about his future with the team, things may have taken a positive turn this offseason.
ESPN’s Rich Cimini writes that the 24-year-old is in better shape physically than he was last year, which was marred by multiple health issues. In part due to those factors, and, more importantly, his inability to translate an intriguing size-speed combination from college to the NFL, Mims hasn’t seen much of the field through two seasons as a pro.
The former second-rounder flashed potential as a rookie, starting eight of the nine games he appeared in. He averaged 15.5 yards per reception, albeit on just 23 scoreless receptions. This year, after the Jets signed Corey Davisand drafted Elijah Moore, Mims saw a drastically reduced role, playing only 40% of offensive snaps. As a result, the Baylor alum has totalled less than 500 career yards after 20 NFL contests.
Amidst frustration regarding his limited opportunities, Mims was understandably considered a trade candidate throughout the 2021 season. In the build-up to the trade deadline, it was reported teams were inquiring about his availability, but New York elected to hold on to him. That didn’t point to a level of complacence at the position, of course; the Jets made a strong push to acquire Deebo Samuel, and used the No. 10 pick in the draft to select Garrett Wilson.
With a long road still in front of him to land a starting role (the Jets also re-signed Braxton Berriosthis offseason), Mims is nevertheless receiving high praise as a result of his work during OTAs. Head coach Robert Saleh described him as being “a lot further along than he was a year ago” and in “fantastic shape”. Still, as Cimini writes, the team could simply be “talking him up” right now in an effort to boost his value in a potential trade, given that little has changed since January when his future was thought to be in serious doubt.
Mims has two years left on his rookie deal, but where those are played will remain an important story to monitor throughout the remainder of the offseason. If he does remain in the Big Apple, there is at least some cause for optimism he could perform closer to the level expected of him not long ago.
After losing the team-leader in receptions, Jamison Crowder, to free agency, the Jets have been looking to improve their wide receiver room this offseason. The Jets’ top five receivers’ season totals were within 107 yards of each other. Unfortunately for New York, their top receiver, Elijah Moore, totaled only 538 yards last year, followed by Corey Davis with 492 yards, Keelan Cole with 449 yards, Crowder with 447 yards, and Braxton Berrios with 431 yards. With Cole being a free agent, the Jets return a top-three group of Moore, Davis, and Berrios.
Many suspected that New York would address the position through free agency, but, while they were linked to essentially every available wide receiver, the only move they made was re-signing All-Pro return man Berrios. ESPN’s Rich Cimini posits that this may be a vote of confidence in third-year receiver Denzel Mims. In two years in the league, Mims has caught 31 balls for 490 yards, but Mims has cut his body fat to 8% this season and Jets’ coaches are liking what they’re hearing about the 24-year-old this offseason.
Veteran free agents are still available with the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, Jarvis Landry, and even Antonio Brown still sitting on the open market. More likely would be the Jets addressing the position using the 2022 NFL Draft. The Jets have been linked to names like USC’s Drake London and Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson, but they’ve also expressed interest in trading one of their two top-ten picks for a veteran receiver. According to Brian Costello of the New York Post, Jets general manager Joe Douglas doubled down on that interest, claiming that conversations with other general managers about draft trades have been heating up. Douglas didn’t go into specifics, but, according to Connor Hughes of The Athletic, in response to the news that Deebo Samuel is seeking a trade, Douglas said, “My job is to get the team better. If the opportunity presents itself, we are going to be aggressive.”
One other note concerning the Jets’ new addition to the defense, Marcell Harris:
The Bengals‘ Super Bowl LVI performance made their offensive line need known worldwide. While the team is not traditionally known for big-ticket free agency splashes, it has spent to fortify its defense over the past two offseasons. O-line reinforcements may be coming, too. At least, a growing expectation exists the Bengals will try to add multiple blockers in free agency, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes. Cincinnati still has Joe Burrow tied to a rookie contract through at least 2022 and holds nearly $35MM in cap space, as of Saturday. The Bengals have not been much for spending on guards, letting both Evan Mathis and Kevin Zeitler leave in free agency during the 2010s, but they may need to deviate from that blueprint soon. Cincinnati has been connected to centers ahead of the market’s opening, being mentioned as interested inRyan Jensen and Bradley Bozeman. Not usually a closely monitored team in free agency, at least nationally, the Bengals will see their O-line strategy spotlighted soon.
With the legal tampering period less than 48 hours away, here is the latest from the AFC:
Mentioned in this week’s Amari Cooper trade talks, the Dolphins saw the Browns acquire the veteran from the Cowboys. The Dolphins also may have their eye on a cheaper option. They have been connected to D.J. Chark ahead of free agency’s outset, Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus tweets. Despite changing coaches again, the Jaguars would like to re-sign Chark. The Dolphins’ 2021 receiver plan partially worked out, with Jaylen Waddle showing immediate promise. But Will Fuller bombed on his one-year Miami deal. The Fins also have DeVante Parker headed into his age-29 season. Chark suffered a fractured ankle in October but surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in 2019. He may not have to settle for a prove-it deal in free agency.
In what would make for interesting trade talks, Gardner Minshew is a name to watch for the Colts, La Canfora tweets. Not only did the Colts acquire Carson Wentz from the Eagles last year, they faced Minshew during the 2019 and ’20 seasons when he piloted bad Jaguars teams. Of course, Minshew went 2-0 as a starter against Indianapolis during his Jacksonville stay. The Colts landed a surprising return for Wentz, but they now have a glaring QB need again. One year remains on Minshew’s rookie contract.
Some of Joe Douglas‘ top draft choices have fallen out of favor with the Jets. Not only has Mekhi Becton struggled with injuries and his weight, but Connor Hughes of The Athletic notes the Jets were close to benching the former first-round left tackle before his Week 1 injury last year (subscription required). Becton reporting to the team’s offseason program and training camp in less-than-ideal shape irked the Jets, and the knee injury sustained cost him 16 games. The mammoth edge blocker showed promise when available as a rookie, but going into 2022, he appears behind George Fantto be Gang Green’s left tackle.
While Becton has displayed starter-caliber talent, Denzel Mims has barely seen the field. The 2020 second-round pick has clashed with coaches during practices, Hughes adds, leading to a real chance he will not be with the Jets when they set their 53-man roster in September. Mims caught eight passes for 133 yards last season. Although the Jets are holding out hope the 6-foot-3 wideout will pan out, his future is very much in question.
Highmark Stadium (previously Rich Stadium, Ralph Wilson Stadium, and New Era Field) has been the home of the Bills since 1973. The Bills’ current lease on Highmark expires in 2023 and the franchise has been pushing with many government entities to build them a shiny, new stadium. The team has used the very real looming threat that there are plenty of other markets in the country that can support an NFL franchise.
Hochul commented on that threat saying, “That’s why we’re negotiating very intently, to make sure we have the right outcome for this community.” The new stadium will partially be funded by the public to the tune of about $850MM. The Governor claims that a deal will be done by April 1, in time for the annual budget.
Here are a few other rumors from around the AFC East, starting with a couple of notes that keep us in the Empire State:
That being said, Vacchiano also reports that, despite their vast spending ability, general manager Joe Douglashas been preaching the maintenance of financial flexibility. Though the Jets rank in the Top 5 in the NFL in salary cap space, Douglas rejected the notion that their $50-60MM in cap space will be dedicated to big spending in free agency. Douglas acknowledged free agency as just one of “a lot of different tools to improve your roster” and pointed to the Bengals as an example of responsible free agent spending. “I think Cincy did great in free agency last year,” he said. “They didn’t blow the doors off in terms of signing super high-priced guys. They brought in guys who fit exactly what they wanted to do.”
According to Mike Giardi of NFL Network, Patriots’ cornerback JC Jackson is likely headed for free agency with some lofty expectations. While Jackson still likes the Patriots, money is a big factor for the 26-year-old. Giardi claims that Jackson is strictly seeking compensation similar to Jalen Ramsey. New England won’t bring that money to the table and it sounds like they won’t be utilizing their franchise tag on Jackson, either. That information could lead to a tag and trade situation if other teams aren’t willing to shell out for Jackson in free agency.
2021 has been a season lacking in positives for the Jets, but there may be a foundation in place for their offense. According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, rookie quarterback Zach Wilson has shown enough, especially recently, to be trusted as the team’s signal-caller going forward. The pieces around Wilson, however, are the cause for a great deal of speculation and debate, particularly when it comes to Denzel Mims.
As Cimini notes, Wilson’s last four games have been much cleaner than the beginning of his rookie campaign, as he has avoided throwing an interception in a span of 135 pass attempts. While his overall stats for the season – a 56.7% completion percentage, 2247 passing yards and only eight touchdowns in 12 games – don’t leap off the page for the No. two overall pick, they also show the need for GM JoeDouglas to upgrade the Jets’ pass-catching corps.
Fellow rookie Elijah Moore and free-agent signing Corey Davis are likely to be in the Big Apple long term, but since the fall rumors have swirled that Mims – a second-round pick out of Baylor in 2020 – is on the way out. After making the 53-man roster by a slimmer margin than expected to start the year, frustrations quickly mounted regarding a lack of playing time and targets, leading many to believe a change of scenery could be in order.
Then, as the trade deadline approached and the Jets were out of contention, speculation ramped up again that Mims, along with pending free-agent Jamison Crowder, could be moved. Instead, he stayed put, and has played just 38% of the team’s offensive snaps in 2021. That’s led to a disappointing stat line of eight catches for 133 yards and no touchdowns. With the aforementioned Moore and Davis in the mix, along with the breakout dual-threat Braxton Berrios – whom Cimini insists the Jets should re-sign – not to mention any potential high draft picks in April, the road to more opportunities from HC Robert Saleh is likely to be a long one for Mims going forward.