The New York Jets lost out on Robby Anderson on Tuesday to Matt Rhule, his former college coach at ,Temple University. The wide receiver signed a two-year contract with the Carolina Panthers.
The Jets, with Anderson gone, now are lacking a true dynamic playmaker on offense. Anderson was explosive in the open field, a speedy and shifty wide receiver who struggled at times making catches but was easily the biggest threat on their offense the past two years.
Anderson’s deal with the Panthers follows much the reported valuation of the wide receiver by the Jets. The contract, as reported by ESPN, is for $20 million with $12 million owed this year according to Adam Schefter. It's a fair deal for Anderson.
The Jets, however, in the midst of a rebuild, have held the line on spending that might endanger their salary cap position this year and moving forward. Despite being a good player and boasting top-end speed, Anderson was still a bit of a luxury for a Jets team that has multiple holes to fill on both sides of the ball.
His value was surely hurt by a deep draft class at wide receiver. The Jets likely can find a starter at the position in the draft’s first two rounds.
Anderson played for Rhule at Temple. Rhule, in his first year in the NFL, left Temple in 2016 for Baylor and turned around both programs before leaving for the Panthers in January Last year, Rhule led Baylor to an 11-3 record including an 8-3 mark in the Big XII. The program lost in the Sugar Bowl to close out the season.
An undrafted rookie free agent signing in 2016, Anderson had a solid if somewhat confounding career with the Jets, one where he never seemed to maximize his full potential while showing flashes of game-changing ability.
His best season with the Jets came in 2017 where he had career-high numbers with 63 receptions for 941 yards and seven touchdowns.
The loss of Anderson hurts the Jets offense. While general manager Joe Douglas has been busy rebuilding the offensive line, signing a total of five players, the rest of the offense has yet to take shape. Now, Douglas need to sign a wide receiver in free agency or wait until the draft.
Anderson, despite his drops, was a key part of the offense last year. He was second on the Jets in receiving yards (779) and receiving touchdowns (5); he was third on the Jets in receptions (52).