He can line up at wide receiver or he can line up at running back. His name is Cordarrelle Patterson and his versatility would be a dynamic addition to the Jets’ bag-of-tricks offensive attack.
Patterson has long been among the most undervalued players in the game. As a former first-round draft choice by Minnesota in 2013, Patterson has bounced around to five different teams, but every time anyone looks up, he is making plays.
Patterson turned in a career-year this past season as the leading rusher on the Falcons and third-leading receiver.
Patterson ran for 618 yards (4.0 avg.) and caught 52 passes (69 targets) for 548 yards. Patterson accounted for a good chunk of the offense in Atlanta, touching the ball 205 times for a combined 1,166 yards and finding the end zone 11 times.
It is no secret that being a team like the Jets with a reputation for losing can have a tough time attracting top-level free agent talent. However, New York is the biggest market in the NFL. It is for that reason alone, New York can be one of the attractive destinations for free agents, especially those who are under-appreciated.
What’s nice about Patterson is he does not have any known allegiances to anyone, and he played on a 7-10 team, which means he could be one of the more open-minded free agents.
Patterson is ranked as the 59th-best free agent by Pro Football Focus (PFF), which further indicates he may fly under the radar. PFF states Patterson may not be able to cash in on a huge deal being on the wrong side of 30 years old, but he deserves a healthy raise over his $3 million dollar contract he signed this past season. PFF estimates Patterson should expect to receive an estimated two-year deal worth $12 million ($6 million per year, guarantee of $8.25 million).
That would be affordable for New York to add the extremely durable Patterson, who can also return kicks and has only missed two games in nine seasons. According to jetswire.com, there is an anticipated $49.1 million dollars of available cap space to work with.
There is no question the Jets need to surround quarterback Zach Wilson with more weapons. They need more weapons that fit what Wilson does best and what best fits the offensive attack of offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur. The fact that Patterson can take a handoff or a short pass and be a strong downhill runner who is tough to tackle is exactly what this offense needs. It is no secret Wilson is erratic further downfield and the Jets need more receivers who can turn short catches into longer gains. Patterson is an emotionally charged jack of all trades who would give LaFleur another wild card to play.
#84 Cordarrelle Patterson 6-foot-2, 220 pounds
2021 game film reviewed: (9/12) PHI, (9/19) TB, 9/26 (NYG), (10/10) NYJ, (11/11) NO, (11/28) JAX
Grade: B (good player who is not elite, but he is good enough to win with)
Big, strong and determined downhill runner with good speed, hands, instincts and vision. Lines up mostly in the backfield in single back formation or occasionally out wide. Pure football player with strong compete. Tough opportunistic cut back downhill runner inside who needs to get stopped before he gets going. Runs high. Good at sniffing out the smallest of creases. Takes what a defense gives him. Not elusive, but he is an aggressive banger. Still has the necessary speed to get outside and turn it upfield. Good pitch option. Mostly one-gear runner, who occasionally flashes burst. Sticks nose in for blitz pick-up. As a receiver he catches with his strong dependable hands. Can reach up and pluck the ball when contested. Exceptional after the catch. Tough to bring down. Good balance, has stiff-arm and can overcome would-be tacklers. A real handful. Does not look to go out of bounds. Mostly a short option, but still can slip behind a defense too. Not able to get much separation at pure breakpoint on intermediate routes. As a returner, smooth long strider who knows where to go, knows how to optimize returns, smells vulnerabilities in coverage. Brings a presence to the field. Someone defenses need to be aware of. Just get him in space where he can work downhill. High energy playmaker.
When the clock strikes March 16 and free agency begins, the Jets need to be on the phone with Patterson’s agent and show him the love he deserves.
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