Garrett Wilson

Jets Looked Into A.J. Brown Trade

The wide receiver the Jets did end up with, Garrett Wilson, will be linked to a number of higher-profile pass catchers for a while. Because the Jets completed a thorough tour of the wideout trade market this offseason.

They made an offer that included the No. 10 overall pick for Deebo Samuel, were on the doorstep of a Tyreek Hill trade and were in the mix for Amari Cooper. The Jets also called the Seahawks on D.K. Metcalf. Rounding out this cycle, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes the team also looked into an A.J. Brown deal.

Going into the draft, Titans bigwigs continued to say their No. 1 wideout was not available. Extension talks and pro-extension sentiments were bandied about. That all fell apart on draft day, when the Titans decided a future with Brown — in a market affected by the Hill and Davante Adams trades — was not worth what it could cost to secure it. Tennessee sent Brown to Philadelphia for first- and third-round picks, leading to the Eagles’ monster extension (four years, $100MM, receiver-high $56MM fully guaranteed) and the Titans obtaining the No. 18 overall choice.

Prior to the Brown deal being announced, the Jets offered the 49ers the No. 10 pick. But that deal would have included San Francisco’s No. 61 selection going to New York. The 49ers stood pat, leading this complex Jets process to Wilson, whom Cimini notes the team had rated ahead of No. 8 overall pick Drake London. Gang Green’s offseason receiver frenzy nearly involved trading up to No. 9, in an effort to ensure no one traded ahead of the wideout-fixated franchise, but saw the Seahawks hang onto their pick and draft a tackle (Charles Cross).

This all clears the way for Wilson, whom Cimini notes the team will be prepared to use outside and in the slot. The 6-foot, 183-pound rookie will be expected to grow into the Jets’ No. 1 receiver, and although he lacks the proven ability of the players the team chased, the addition of the ex-Buckeyes talent rounds out a productive offseason for the AFC East squad at this spot. The team’s decision to re-sign Braxton Berrios gives it a top four of Wilson, Corey Davis, Elijah Moore and Berrios.

Whereas the others the Jets chased are tied to monster contracts or likely soon will be, in Samuel’s case, Wilson also comes at a rookie-deal price through at least 2024. The Jets have the ability to keep him on this pact through 2026. The Jets’ additions of C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin stand to help out Zach Wilson as well, after recent seasons did not see much production from New York’s tight end position.

AFC East Notes: Poyer, Becton, Jets, Patriots

Jordan Poyer continues to pursue a new contract, but that won’t keep him away from mandatory minicamp. The Bills All-Pro safety is in attendance for practice this week, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).

The impending free agent is seeking a new deal, and the Bills have been in communication with the player’s camp. According to ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg, Poyer’s participation may be limited in a pseudo-holdout move.

“I think Jordan is in a good place mentally,” said defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. “He’s still staying in touch with his teammates, and hopefully, we’ll see him soon.”

Poyer has been a consistent starter on the Bills defense since joining the organization in 2017, missing only a pair of games. After collecting 100+ tackles between 2018 and 2020, the safety earned his first career All-Pro nod in 2021 after finishing with 93 tackles, three sacks, and five interceptions. The veteran inked a two-year extension with the organization in 2020.

More out of the AFC East:

  • The Jets could turn to a committee approach as they look to replace Jamison Crowder‘s spot at slot receiver, writes ESPN’s Rich Cimini. Many assumed that Braxton Berrios would slide into the role, but head coach Robert Saleh admitted the team is “working through it” and prefers to slide players in and out of the spot to keep things unpredictable. Elijah Moore and rookie Garrett Wilson are among the receivers who could join Berrios in the slot rotation.
  • Jets defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd rejected a better offer to re-sign with the Jets on a one-year, $1.1MM deal, according to Cimini. Incredibly, the 2018 draft pick is the team’s longest-tenured player, and he’s earned a reputation as a hard worker and loyal player. As Cimini notes, Shepard is now the biggest player on the team with Folorunso Fatukasi gone, and that could mean the veteran will see a more significant role in run-stopping situations.
  • Jets offensive lineman Mekhi Becton made it to mandatory minicamp after having sat out previous voluntary sessions, tweets ESPN’s Rich Cimini. The lineman didn’t practice, presumably because he’s still rehabbing his surgically repaired knee. Meanwhile, SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano writes that the player’s ability to return to the field could ultimately influence the left tackle competition between Becton and George Fant. “The faster that you can stamp ‘Hey, this is what we feel like is going to be our best going into Week 1 vs. Baltimore,’ the faster we can do that the better,” offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said (via Vacchiano). “I think it will play itself out fairly quickly. When we get back (for training camp), we’re rolling, we’re running the football, and we’re going to see. It’ll all play itself out.”
  • At least one “prominent” member of the Patriots offense believed the coaching staff was unprepared at the start of the team’s offseason workout, according to Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus. Following Josh McDaniels move to Las Vegas, the Patriots haven’t replaced anyone as their offensive coordinator, with former ST coordinator Joe Judge and former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia apparently taking on larger roles on offense. However, it sounds like the coaches are settling into roles, with Kyed describing Judge as the “passing game coordinator” and Patricia as the “running game coordinator.” Naturally, head coach Bill Belichick recently swatted away any questions about the offensive play calling. “If you’re asking about game plans, we’re months away from that — months,” Belichick said. “Months away. Months. What plays are we calling? Mini-camp plays?”

Jets Reach Agreement With First Round WR Garrett Wilson

The Jets are about to have all three of their first round picks under contract. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (on Twitter) that the team has reached an agreement with wideout Garrett Wilson on his rookie deal, worth $20.55MM. 

Connected to a number of veterans at the position throughout the offseason, the Jets were unable to make a sizeable addition via trade. That led many to believe they would target a receiver with one of their two top-ten picks in last month’s draft. After selecting cornerback Ahmad Gardner at No. 4, they did just that by picking the former Buckeye.

Wilson was an immediate contributor at Ohio State in his freshman season, totaling 432 receiving yards and scoring five touchdowns. He took a major step forward the following year, notching 43 receptions for 723 yards and six touchdowns in only eight contests. Competing for targets with fellow first-rounder Chris Olave and the highly-touted Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Wilson topped 1,000 receiving yards and found the endzone 13 total times last season.

That production put him in the conversation to be the top WR off the board; while that distinction ultimately went to Drake London, Wilson was seen by some as the most complete receiver in the class. He should have a path to immediate playing time with the Jets alongside Corey Davis and Elijah Moore. While the play of his namesake, quarterback Zach Wilson, will most determine the Jets’ success in the immediate future, Garrett has the potential to be an impact player on the team’s offense in the short- and long-term.

Draft Notes: Remaining QBs, Jets, Vikings, Burks, Johnson

One of the main storylines from last night’s first round was the fact that only one quarterback came off the board. The Steelers have their preferred choice in Kenny Pickett, but the other top options likely won’t have to wait long to hear their names called.

Jeff Howe of the Athletic reports (via Twitter) that “several teams” are trying to move up in the second round. As a result, there is “anticipation that a QB run could be on the way”. A number of teams could be interested in adding the likes of Malik Willis, Sam Howell, Desmond Ridder and Matt Corral as intriguing developmental options.

On that point, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer names the Titans, Falcons, Seahawks and Commanders as teams to watch for. He reports that “Ridder’s name has been consistently connected to Tennessee”, who now holds the 35th overall pick. The other teams have done significant work on signal-callers as well. Perhaps eyeing a passer, the Seahawks have made “exploratory calls” about moving up tonight, per CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson (Twitter link).

Here are some other notes looking back on last night:

  • The Jets, as it has been reported, were willing to part with the No. 10 pick for Deebo Samuel. They almost made a different deal with that selection, though, as detailed by ESPN’s Rich Cimini (on Twitter). New York wanted to swap with Seattle for No. 9 to avoid a team leapfrogging them to select Garrett Wilson. Both teams were able to successfully stand pat, ultimately getting Charles Cross and Wilson, respectively.
  • Not long after the top-10 was complete, the Vikings ceded the 12th overall pick to the Lions. With their second first-rounder, Detroit selected Jameson Williams, who may have been the pick at that spot had Minnesota kept it. Breer reports that the Alabama receiver “was very much in play ” for the Vikings, who added Lewis Cine and two Day 2 picks as a result of the deal.
  • Another of the top receivers to be taken last night was Treylon Burks, whom the Titans selected as a replacement for A.J. BrownWhen speaking to Pat McAfee, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said the Arkansas alum “was the guy Aaron Rodgers wanted” (video link). With him off the board, the Packers extended their streak of not using a Round 1 pick on a wideout, but he reports that they are a candidate to trade up for one tonight (video link).
  • One of the most surprising fallers on Thursday night was pass rusher Jermaine Johnson II. Part of the reason he was still on the board for the Jets at No. 25, Breer notes, was poor interviews with teams in the pre-draft process. Thought by some as a top-10 pick, he ended up with the Jets anyway, and figures to serve as a notable boost to their pass rush.

Saints Willing To Move Up Or Down In First Round

The middle and later stages of tonight’s first round are expected to house most of the trade action which could take place. That makes the Saints one of the most important teams to watch. It comes as little surprise, then, that New Orleans has been calling other teams regarding moves up and down the board (Twitter link via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler). 

After their deal with the Eagles, the Saints own the 16th and 19th overall picks. That likely puts them in range of some – if not all – of the top quarterbacks in the class. If the team does elect to add a signal-caller, it appears their preference would be either Kenny Pickett or Matt Corral. With that said, the team has already re-signed Jameis Winston and added veteran backup Andy Dalton, leading some to believe other positions could be of greater concern to them.

The two positions most referenced along those lines are offensive tackle and wide receiver. In need of a Terron Armstead replacement, Trevor Penning will likely be the top blocker still available at 16, so a move up to select a top-tier option like Charles Cross wouldn’t come as a surprise. Likewise, the team would, in all likelihood, need to move into the top 10 (or thereabouts) to be in range of wideouts such as Drake London, Jameson Williams and Garrett Wilson as they look to boost last year’s passing game.

If the top options at those positions are off the board by the middle of the round, though, a trade down would become a possibility. The strength of this class is said to be truly seen on Day 2; especially if the team chooses not to add a quarterback, then, and a run on the position occurs in the 20s, moving down could become mutually beneficial for the Saints and a QB-hungry team.

Like all Day 1 trades, the ultimate decisions teams make will become known in a matter of hours. Depending on how the top of the board shakes out, New Orleans could become one of the most active teams, and therefore one worth keeping an eye on.

AFC Draft Notes: Chiefs, Jaguars, Texans, Steelers

We’re only two days away from the NFL Draft. Let’s take a look at some assorted draft notes out of the AFC:

  • The Chiefs are armed with 12 selections in the upcoming draft, including picks No. 29 and No. 30. According to Albert Breer of SI.com, Kansas City’s front office has started to call teams in the 20s about trading up. Breer opines that a potential deal could precede a second trade up the draft board.. Breer speculates that the Chiefs could be eyeing one of the league’s top receivers, but he also cautions that the front office could make “an aggressive move” for a cornerback or pass-rusher.
  • We can add two more teams to the list of Trevor Penning suitors. According to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com, the Titans and Chiefs are among the teams being mentioned as landing spots for the Northern Iowa left tackle. Kansas City would likely have to trade up in order to acquire the lineman. The Ravens, Titans, and Panthers have previously been linked to Penning.
  • Four prospects are believed to be in play for the Jaguars at No. 1 overall, but ESPN’s Todd McShay is hearing a lot of buzz around Georgia edge rusher Travon Walker. Sources believe the Jaguars prefer Walker’s “upside and traits” over Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson‘s “proven production, motor, and leadership.”
  • The Texans are high on Ohio State wide receiver Garrett Wilson, according to McShay. However, the Texans won’t take the wideout at No. 3, and they’d probably have to trade up from No. 13 in order to select Wilson. If that ends up being an unrealistic path, McShay could also envision the Texans trading out of the No. 13 spot.
  • The first QB off the board could end up going to the Steelers at No. 20, according to McShay. Pittsburgh is apparently eyeing Liberty’s Malik Willis, and the signal-caller could end up falling in their lap. However, the reporter seems to be cautioning that the Steelers may not be able to pull off “a Bill Belichick” (referring to last year’s Mac Jones pick), meaning the front office may have to trade up if they want Willis.

Chiefs, Cardinals Targeting First-Round WRs

The back half of Thursday night’s first round has plenty of uncertainty, keeping in line with the overall theme of this year’s class. Two of the teams in that range whose intentions are clear, according to Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline, are the Chiefs and Cardinals; each, he reports, are targeting wide receivers. 

Kansas City has been named as a team looking for replenishments in their pass-catching corps since the Tyreek Hill trade. While they have signed J.J. Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, many have pointed to a receiver being a priority with one of their two Dat 1 selections (Nos. 29 and 30). As Pauline also noted recently, the team is high on Minnesota edge rusher Boye Mafe, whom many believe Kansas City will select with one of those picks.

As for the other, the Chiefs have frequently been connected to trade-up scenarios resulting in a top wideout becoming the pick. Given his speed, Jameson Williams is often touted as the team’s target in such a circumstance, but Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave are other options under consideration as well. Given the rankings of those three not only amongst the other top wideouts, but the rest of the class as a whole, it is highly unlikely Kansas City will be able to wait to select any of them at the tail end of Day 1.

A trade could very well be needed for the Cardinals as well if they wish to add a top pass-catcher. The team’s vacancy comes from Christian Kirk‘s free agency departure, meaning they could stand to add a starting-level player Thursday night. Since it is expected Williams, Wilson and Drake London – at a minimum – will be off the board by the time Arizona picks 23rd overall, Olave and Treylon Burks are more realistic targets at their current slot. The Cardinals hosted the latter, signalling at least a degree of interest in the Arkansas alum. Pauline points to offensive line as another position to target if they avoid a wideout.

Much of the chatter in the build-up to Thursday night is dominated by the top of the board, of course, but the actions of teams like these two will be worth watching as the WR board shakes out throughout the opening round.

Jets Interested In Jameson Williams?

Involved in the Tyreek Hill and Amari Cooper trade talks, the Jets acquired neither. They have since been linked to D.K. Metcalf, having discussed the fourth-year wideout with the Seahawks. Those talks were not believed to have been substantial.

This points the Jets to a receiver in a draft featuring several ready-made contributors but one appearing to lack the top-end talent of last year’s class. It is not certain which of this year’s receiver crop will be the first to go off the board, but the Jets are believed to be interested in Alabama’s Jameson Williams, a source informed ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini. While the Jets are continuing to monitor the potential availability of Metcalf and 49ers wideout Deebo Samuel, Cimini notes, they will continue to be connected to using one of their first-round picks on this position.

The Jets-Williams connection comes shortly after a report indicating the Alabama receiver, despite the ACL tear he suffered in the national championship game, is moving toward being a top-10 pick. With linemen and defensive backs atop draft boards, it is possible the Jets would have their pick of the top wideout in this draft. The Jets hold the Nos. 4 and 10 picks in this year’s draft, and even taking their persistent receiver interest into account, it would surprise if the team used that No. 4 choice on one.

Williams’ tear is not likely to cost him much in this draft, with ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. noting a rise into the top 10 is not out of the question. The Jets have Corey Davis, the recently re-signed Braxton Berrios and second-rounders Elijah Moore and Denzel Mims. While Mims has not come especially close to justifying his draft slot, helping lead the team to this wideout-needy place, the Jets have some options at the position. They also have two picks atop the second round (Nos. 35 and 38, the latter coming via the Sam Darnold trade), should Joe Douglas and Co. opt to address other needs in Round 1. The Jets have not drafted a wideout in the first round since Santana Moss in 2001.

Prior to his knee injury, Williams broke through after transferring from Ohio State to Alabama. The 179-pound pass catcher posted a 79-catch, 1,572-yard, 15-touchdown season to help Bryce Young to the Heisman Trophy. Should he regain that form post-surgery, Williams would provide a tremendous speed injection to whichever offense he joins. ESPN gives he, ex-Buckeyes teammates Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, and USC’s Drake London top-20 grades among this draft’s receiver class. The Jets have met with Wilson, Olave and London, Cimini adds.

WR Draft Notes: Commanders, Cowboys, Bucs, Saints, Jets

One of two Ohio State wide receivers expected to become first-round picks later this month, Chris Olave will tour two NFC East teams’ facilities this week. The Cowboys are hosting Olave on a visit Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The former Justin Fields and C.J. Stroud pass catcher will also meet with the Commanders on Thursday, SI.com’s Albert Breer tweets. Olave and Terry McLaurin were teammates in 2018, Olave’s freshman year, and Breer adds the wideouts are close. Having traded for Carson Wentz, the Commanders (pick No. 11) are in need of a complementary pass catcher alongside McLaurin. They have not chosen a first-round wideout since Josh Doctson in 2016. The Cowboys (No. 24) have pulled the trigger on a first-round wideout recently — CeeDee Lamb in 2020 — but Jerry Jones based the Amari Cooper trade on resource allocation, and Dallas adding a low-cost wideout alongside Lamb and the rehabbing Michael Gallup would make sense. Though, the Cowboys are interested in offensive linemen as well.

Here is the latest from the wide receiver draft landscape:

  • Also ranked as a first-round prospect, Arkansas’ Treylon Burks is meeting with a few teams this week. The Cowboys hosted the 225-pound playmaker Monday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, adding that the Buccaneers will meet with Burks later this week. The Saints are also hosted the 6-foot-2 target last week, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football tweets. It would surprise if the Bucs (No. 27) went wideout in Round 1, given their Mike EvansChris GodwinRussell Gage setup, but the team could use a cheap building block due to employing three eight-figure-per-year wideouts. The Saints (Nos. 16, 19) are rather desperate for receiving help, with Michael Thomas having run into significant injury trouble over the past two years. New Orleans now has two first-round picks, putting wideout squarely in play.
  • Also holding two first-round selections, the Jets have met with this draft’s top-graded wideout (per Scouts Inc.). Checking in as the No. 6 overall prospect, Garrett Wilson visited the Jets on Monday, Schefter adds (on Twitter). Wilson and Olave formed a top-end duo last season, with the former leading the Buckeyes with 1,058 receiving yards. The Jets have the Nos. 4 and 10 picks and have been linked to receivers throughout the offseason.
  • The tallest of this year’s elite receiver prospects will hold a late pro day. Drake London pushed his pro day to April 15 due to a hamstring issue, Rapoport tweets. The 6-foot-3 USC product ranks as Scouts Inc.’s No. 9 overall prospect.
  • John Metchie checks in as a second-round prospect, but teams are still doing work on the Alabama contributor. The Commanders are using a “30” visit on Metchie on Friday, Breer adds. The former DeVonta Smith/Jaylen Waddle sidekick joins Crimson Tide first-round prospect Jameson Williams in coming off a major injury. A December ACL tear damaged Metchie’s draft stock.

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Arkansas WR Treylon Burks

Treylon Burks has spent his entire life living in Arkansas. The kid is Arkansas born and raised. After only three years of play at the University of Arkansas, NFL teams are dying to give Burks his first home outside of The Natural State. 

Burks left Warren High School as the top-ranked player in the state, despite missing most of his senior season due to a torn ACL. The multi-sport athlete signed to continue his education in-state and made an immediate impact. As a true freshman, Burks gave the Razorbacks 475 yards receiving. Although, Burks is a big-body receiver (measured at 6’2″ and 225 lb. this weekend in Indianapolis), the freshman was so explosive in the open field that his coaches gave him kick- and punt-returner duties. Burks took the opportunity and ran with it, being named 2nd Team All-Sec as a return specialist his freshman year.

In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Burks broke out in a big way, racking up 820 yards and 7 touchdowns in only 8 games. With all eyes on him and expectations sky-high for the 2021 college season, Burks soared. Despite constant double-teams as the only perceived receiving threat for the Razorbacks, Burks still managed to catch 66 balls for 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns. He even managed to add on 112 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown to the ledger.

As a pro, Burks screams No. 1 receiver material. He has the physical, big body to dominate in jump ball scenarios along with run-after-catch ability to be a threat outside the red-zone, as well. He tracks and adjusts to the ball well in the air and his catch radius will give his future quarterback a bit of leeway to just throw the ball in his general direction. His versatility from college with returns and some rushing attempts have appropriately earned him multiple comparisons to a big-bodied Deebo Samuel.

In The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s prospect position rankings from December, Burks was listed as the third best receiver behind Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson and Alabama’s Jameson Williams. Many mock drafts see Burks as the second or third wide receiver generally taken off the board behind Wilson and USC’s Drake London. Burks is nearly a consensus first round pick, with many evaluators predicting him to gone by the second half of the first round.

Regardless of when he gets picked up, the lack of any NFL teams in Arkansas guarantees that Burks will soon be heading for a new destination. Whichever team gives him a call on draft night is going to receive an NFL-ready, Day 1 starter ready to compete with NFL corners. Look for teams who currently lack a true No. 1 receiver to pull the trigger somewhere in the middle of the first round, if not earlier.