Per usual, we started seeing Robby Anderson rediscover his groove with the New York Jets between November and December.
However, this year, he has a great alibi for his performance, given that Sam Darnold had to miss four games with mononucleosis, which left Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk “throwing” him the football for four games. The New York Jets would have had better luck signing Napoleon Dynamite’s Uncle Rico or The Replacement’s Shane Flaco.
Luckily though, with Sam Darnold back, Robby Anderson has been able to find his footing and is finally shining as Jets fans have been accustomed to seeing.
Right before the 42-21 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, where Robby finished the game with six targets, four receptions, and 66 yards, Robby was lighting it up. He tallied 86 (week 12), 101 (week 13), and 116 (week 14) yards consecutively and scored a touchdown in three of the four previous games (weeks 11, 12, & 14). Robby had an opportunity to catch a touchdown against the Ravens, but the ball was dislodged from his hands by Jimmy Smith in the back of the end zone.
But with all the success that Robby has had as a Jet after being an undrafted free agent, the Jets are now in a quagmire with Mr. Anderson’s expiring contract.
For a few years now, it seems that some people in the Jets organization, as well as some Jets fans, believe that Robby Anderson can be a Wide Receiver 1. Others believe that he is a single-skilled specialist who can run deep routes extremely fast, and has the opportunity for a long score touchdown.
My question, however, is why are we over-complicating what Robby Anderson is? Robby Anderson is another DeSean Jackson, an extremely talented Wide Receiver 2 that has excellent speed to blow by defenses.
Just so that we are on the same page, I believe a WR1 is a player that has an incredibly diverse route tree, a right combination of speed and strength, some of the softest hands, and is reliable in the endzone (i.e., Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, & Odell Beckham Jr.).
A WR2 is an excellent complementary piece to the WR1. WR2s come in different shapes and sizes. He can be a speedster (DeSean Jackson & Calvin Ridley), a strong individual that has great route running ability with decent speed (Michael Gallup & Mohamed Sanu), or a well-rounded athlete with all the qualities listed above (Jarvis Landry & Mike Williams).
The Jets may not have solved their WR1 problem (maybe they draft or sign one this upcoming offseason), but I believe they have found their WR2 and should ensure they keep him. Robby is currently making close to $3.1 million this year, and his contract is up at the end of this season, making him an unrestricted free agent. He is probably looking to get paid this upcoming 2020 free agency and may take the best offer he can get.
According to Paul A. Esden Jr. of the Jet Press, Robby is due to receive an extension of around $47 million over four years, which would equate to $11.7 million annually. However, Rich Cimini noted that Robby could demand anywhere between $14 million to $16 million annually.
The price tag may seem pretty hefty, but I believe Robby Anderson is worth the money. Wide receivers such as Alshon Jeffery and Sammy Watkins are in the same pay range and, in my opinion, not the most consistent wide receivers (and are all further into their careers). So it should not be inconceivable to give Robby a pay raise since he is in the early stages of his career, about to hit his prime years (he is only 26 years old), and still can develop even further.
But a key reason that should stick with the Jets’ front office in the decision-making process of Robby is that he can get behind defenses with his elite speed.
Players that have this elite speed help open up the offense and keep defenses off-balance. Look at the Kansas City Chiefs, who rank fourth in the NFL in scoring (averaging 28.1 PTS/G), and how they use Tyreek Hill. Chief’s head coach, Andy Reid, is capable of designing and calling complex offensive schemes that allow his players to get into space because he has a talent like Hill. I know what you are thinking, and yes, having Patrick Mahomes helps, but the Chiefs were doing this with Alex Smith too.
Conversely, look at the Philadelphia Eagles who rank eleventh (averaging 23.1 PTS/G) and have sputtered this entire season. They have lacked in offensive creativity after losing DeSean Jackson. If you remember week one of this season when Jackson had eight receptions, 154 yards receiving, and two touchdowns, it looked like the Eagles were ready to take the league by storm. Once Jackson became injured during week two against the Atlanta Falcons, the Eagles began to struggle offensively (specifically in the passing game).
The fact that Robby may not come back to get paid somewhere else is worrisome. It would be devastating not to have Robby continue to make plays like this for the Jets.