The New York Jets enter the 2023 NFL season with several new faces across their offense. After trading for veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Jets loaded up at wide receiver. With three new veterans in the mix, the WR rotation will look much different.
We dive into the Jets’ wide receiver depth chart and project who will be the starters and backups in 2023.
New York Jets WR Depth Chart
The Jets’ WR corps had its strengths in 2022 despite suffering from arguably the worst QB situation in the NFL. Rookie Garrett Wilson was an immediate star, earning the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award after hauling in 83 receptions for 1,103 yards and four touchdowns. But despite boasting talent, the unit struggled to consistently produce beyond Wilson.
Rodgers’ arrival put more pressure on New York to surround the veteran with more consistency. Elijah Moore, despite being an explosive and intriguing young player, was traded to the Cleveland Browns for a swap of draft picks. The Jets also spent $44 million to bring Allen Lazard from Green Bay to New York, $3 million to reunite Randall Cobb with Rodgers, and $4 million on Mecole Hardman.
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Lazard and Cobb are notably close to Rodgers, with the former saying Rodgers was a “big reason” why he signed with the team. Cobb, turning 33 this summer after producing only 417 yards and one touchdown last year, is looking to “fill some voids” as a role player. Hardman, who finished with only 297 yards and four touchdowns in 2022, was oddly more drawn to playing with Lazard and Wilson than Rodgers.
Meanwhile, the Jets also have Corey Davis and Denzel Mims on the roster. In 2022, Davis was third on the team in receiving yards with 536, but he missed four games. Last year, Mims played in 10 games but caught only 11 passes for 186 yards.
Will Corey Davis and Denzel Mims Make the Team?
The Jets’ receiver room is quite full right now. Rodgers has already compared Wilson to former All-Pro teammate Davante Adams, and it’s safe to assume both Lazard and Cobb will have their own roles. Rodgers and Cobb are “extremely close,” both on the field and off the field, so even if he’s over the hill compared to Davis and Mims, expect to see Cobb have some impact in 2023.
Both Davis and Mims have been the subject of trade rumors since the offseason began. Davis has an $11.1 million cap hit this year, but cutting him would save $10.5 million of that number. Mims, who has flashed the ability to be a big-play threat, has only 92 receptions for 676 yards in three seasons.
Still, both players can bring value to this offense. While Hardman’s speed is nice, Davis is a very good run blocker in addition to being a possession receiver. With Davis on the field in 2022, the Jets averaged 5.18 yards per carry, compared to just 3.91 ypc when he was off.
For 2022, that difference was enough between the fourth-best rushing offense and the 29th. However, the 28-year-old Davis may push for new scenery by the end of training camp if he’s not a priority in the rotation. The Jets would surely love to trim his salary if he’s not going to be a starter, and barring injury, he appears buried as the third or fourth option already.
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Mims has less value despite being physically tantalizing. Nevertheless, he’s an intriguing depth piece if the team wants to carry six receivers on their final roster. New York lacks any proven depth beyond their top six, so one injury can allow him to find a bigger role in a hurry.
It seems equally likely that both Davis and Mims make the final roster or both are gone by the start of the regular season. There’s no reason to pay Davis like a starter if he’s going to be a depth piece. Mims isn’t a special-teams contributor, so the Jets could move on from the project in order to get someone able to fill a role elsewhere.
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