When the Jets signed Corey Davis this past offseason, both parties were confident that the wideout could be New York's top receiver in 2021 and beyond.
Davis showed flashes of top-receiver tendencies during his first season in green and white, but didn't exactly live up to his lofty expectations.
Playing in just nine games, Davis had 34 receptions, good for 492 receiving yards and four touchdowns. He only eclipsed 100 receiving yards in one game, missing the final five weeks of the campaign after undergoing season-ending core muscle surgery.
Considering Davis didn't produce No. 1 receiver numbers, did the Jets make a mistake spending $37.5 million on a three-year deal for the wideout? Pro Football Focus says yes.
In an article this week, PFF's Sam Monson listed the best and worst 2021 NFL free agent signings. Monson mentioned Davis first when running through the latter.
WR Corey Davis, signed with the New York Jets for three years, $37.5 million
Signing a player coming off a career year is always dangerous — doubly so when the plan is to transplant him into a significantly worse environment. That’s exactly what the Jets did with Davis, as they hoped he could lead a new-look receiving corps to success with a rookie quarterback. Davis dealt with injuries and only played in nine games, but in those games, he averaged just 1.74 yards per route run — a massive dropoff from the 2.58 he managed last season. Davis also posted the highest drop rate (15.6%) of his career and his lowest PFF grade since he was a rookie. He will get another chance next season, but the Jets need the former first-round pick to up his game.
As Monson alluded to, Davis had a career year in his final season with the Titans, racking up 984 receiving yards on 65 catches in 2020. He was unable to stay on the field for the whole season with the Jets, but also struggled with drops, often disappearing while other wideouts like Elijah Moore and Braxton Berrios shined as Zach Wilson's favorite targets.
Davis can still prove he's worth that much money with a solid season in Year 2 with the Jets. Then again, he might not get a chance to be considered this club's top wideout anymore. The Jets may add another No. 1 receiver to their roster either through free agency, the draft or via trade.
Again, there were some bright moments. This deep touchdown pass from Wilson to Davis, against the wideout's former team, comes to mind.
Wilson's first career touchdown pass went to Davis back in Week 1 as well.
The chemistry with his young quarterback was there, but New York needs the wideout to be more explosive and make more plays down the field consistently. Otherwise, this free agent signing will turn out to be a miss for general manager Joe Douglas and his team.
Here are the other offseason acquisitions that didn't pan out in 2021, as listed by Monson:
- Bud Dupree, signed with the Tennessee Titans for five years, $85 million
- Kenny Golladay, signed with the New York Giants for four years, $72 million
- Sam Darnold, traded for by the Carolina Panthers and had his fifth-year option exercised for $18.9 million
- Pat Elflein, signed with the Panthers for three years, $11.5 million
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