With quarterback Sam Darnold entering a pivotal second season in a brand new offense with a brand new coach, the Jets have decided to go get him a brand new weapon in free agency. 

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Jets have agreed to sign former Redskins receiver Jamison Crowder to a three-year deal worth $28.5 million with $17 million fully guaranteed upon signing. The two sides can make the deal official on Wednesday when the new league year begins.

Crowder, a fourth-round pick in 2015, is coming off a 388-yard season that was cut short by injury. In his four-year run with the Redskins, he averaged 55.3 catches, 657 yards, and 3.5 touchdowns per season. He was at his best in 2016, when he posted career-highs in receptions (67), yards (847), and touchdowns (7). Entering free agency, Crowder ranked 39th on Pete Prisco’s list of free agents, just one spot behind fellow receiver Adam Humphries, who secured a reported four-year, $36 million deal from the Titans

The contract isn’t cheap, but the Jets are acquiring one of the league’s better slot receivers. And he’s only 25 years old, so he’ll have a chance to grow with Darnold. 

The Jets have now provided Darnold with one of the league’s better receiving groups, even if they’re lacking a superstar. Crowder will operate out of the slot. Robby Anderson and his career average of 14.7 yards per catch will be the primary deep threat. Quincy Enunwa can be a solid secondary option, evidenced by his 857-yard season a couple years ago. There’s a nice balance there. 

Imagine if they were to add Le’Veon Bell. Even if they don’t, it’s a solid group of skill-position players:

Coming off a four-win season — their third-straight finish below .500 — the Jets likely aren’t eyeing a playoff spot as quickly as the upcoming season. But with Darnold and a good supporting staff in place, the Jets should be eyeing an improvement that positions them well for the years to come. It’s not a bad spot to be in with Tom Brady nearing retirement.

It’ll all come down to Darnold’s development. The Jets know this, which is why they hired Adam Gase as their new coach, agreed to sign a good slot receiver, and are reportedly in the mix for Bell. Time will tell if those moves pay off, but at the very least, the Jets are trying to give Darnold the help he needs. 

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