When the Cowboys franchised tagged QB Dak Prescott on Monday, their top wideout in Amari Cooper hit the open market due to the new CBA's rules that state only one franchise or transition tag is allowed to be used. However, there were some that said Dallas felt they could still find a way to re-sign the man they gave up a first-round pick for two seasons ago.
Well, they prevailed.
It's unknown if the Jets jumped into Cooper's market, but the Cowboys ultimately re-signed him to a five-year deal worth $100 million, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. An NFC East rival in the Redskins were reportedly trying to get Cooper, too.
So, now with Cooper having a brief stay on the market, the Jets must now pivot to re-signing their own wide receiver in Robby Anderson. And they should ramp up that pursuit because, well, there is simply no other option to exercise.
The Jets saw A.J. Green franchise tagged, and DeAndre Hopkins and Stefon Diggs traded to the Cardinals and Bills respectively. Anderson, now, is the top dog in the wide receiver bucket, with maybe Emmanuel Sanders right behind him. It's really not that close considering Sanders is turning 34 on Tuesday. Even Randall Cobb, who might have come third in this race, is off the market with a three-year deal done in Houston.
Anderson's market will be the next one to escalate because of that, and there's no knowing for sure if the Jets are close to a deal. Before Monday, it was basically a 50-50 shot of Anderson returning based on his TV appearances that had wishy-washy answers.
On one hand, he said the Jets "definitely want me back," and he said he wanted to finish what he started with Gang Green. But then he said teams have been telling his agent "I'm their ideal guy of who they do want." So there really is no clarity there.
SNY's Ralph Vacchiano has been reporting that the Jets truly do want him back, but only if the price is right. And that price was around the $10 million range. However, Cooper off the board might make Anderson's price tag higher -- something around the $13-14 million range.
But here's the thing: it's worth it at this point. GM Joe Douglas can't stress any other avenues. The NFL Draft might have a stacked class in the receiver bin, but after missing out on top tackles and signing a work in progress in OT George Fant, Douglas might be leaning towards a tackle with his No. 11 pick. Maybe other receivers fall in the later rounds, but none at that point would project to be like Anderson.
Anderson has developed chemistry with Sam Darnold for the past two seasons, and that was on full display in the second half last year. Imagine the type of numbers he could've put up if Darnold was healthy throughout 2019...
Anderson may become more expensive, but Douglas has to pull the trigger to make sure that Darnold has a definite No. 1 option for the 2020 season. Is Anderson that as of now? He's shown flashes of it but not enough to say yes just yet.
But the Jets must trust Anderson to live up to his word of wanting to finish what he started and become that top guy in the receivers room.