Negotiations keep Jets WR Crowder from OTAs

  • Longtime Jets beat writer for New York Daily News
  • Syracuse University graduate

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder is staying away from offseason workouts as he and the team attempt to renegotiate his contract.

The Jets are among the league leaders in salary-cap space (about $27 million), but they’re trying to get Crowder to take a pay cut. Crowder, who led the team in receptions in 2020 and 2021, is due to make $10 million in base pay in the final year of his contract. The salary is not guaranteed, which means the Jets can cut him at any time.

The Jets drafted Crowder’s eventual replacement with the 34th overall pick, former Ole Miss slot receiver Elijah Moore, but they still want Crowder on the team — at their price. His current cap charge is $11.4 million, third highest on the team.

Coach Robert Saleh said the two sides are “working through some stuff with his contract,” but he painted an optimistic picture. He said Crowder will “absolutely” be on the roster.

“[We’re] really confident to get Jamison here quickly,” Saleh said. “When we do, he definitely has a role on this team.”

Crowder, who turns 28 on June 17, was the Jets’ most consistent player on offense the past two seasons. In 2020, he recorded 59 catches for 699 yards and six touchdowns — all team highs. He missed four games due to leg injuries. He was better in 2019, with 78 catches, 833 yards and six touchdowns.

The Jets still finished 32nd in total yards both years.

They revamped the receiving corps this offseason, signing Corey Davis (three years, $37.5 million) and Keelan Cole (one year, $5 million) and drafting Moore. The rookie has impressed in early practices.

Still, Crowder is their most accomplished receiver, and his absence is costing him an opportunity to develop chemistry with rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, the presumptive starter. Another key player on offense, left tackle Mekhi Becton, is sitting out with a foot injury. He’s suffering from plantar fasciitis, the NFL Network reported. Becton, their No. 1 pick in 2020, won’t require surgery, according to Saleh, who said “it’s really not a big deal.”

Becton, who injured the foot 11 days ago in the first practice, made an appearance on the practice field Friday, but didn’t participate in any drills. The issue with Becton, listed at 6-foot-7, 363 pounds, is his weight. Saleh hinted that Becton needs to improve his conditioning. He was overweight by the end of last season, a team source said.

“Their body is their moneymaker,” Saleh said. “The amount of investment you put into your body is the amount you get back. That’s part of the learning progression of young men.

“They’ve got to learn how to take care of their bodies. They’ve got to learn how to eat right, how to work out right, how to rest right, regenerate right — all the things that lead to longevity in this league. Mekhi is one of those. He’s a talented young man, he’s a very large young man, and he’s learning every day what it takes to be a professional. We’ve got a lot of faith in him.”

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