Robby Anderson was arrested in Florida and charged with harm to a public servant, reckless driving, eluding police, and resisting arrest.
The timing of this incident is not ideal for Anderson after his 2017 breakout season and in the context of his arrest at a music festival in Florida last year.
ANDERSON’S BREAKOUT SEASON
Anderson, a former undrafted free agent, led all Jets WRs in receiving yards (941), air yards (1,487), and touchdowns (7). He had a great deal of success attacking opposing defenses vertically this season, leading all WRs with a 37-yard average target depth on scoring receptions.1 Anderson played 78 percent of the offensive snaps and had great chemistry with 38-year old quarterback Josh McCown.2
A POWER STRUGGLE FORCED THE OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR OUT
The Jets fired first-year offensive coordinator John Morton. Morton aggravated certain players and had “philosophical differences” with head coach Todd Boyles. The new OC will be the Jets sixth in eight seasons.
McCown flourished in Morton’s version of the Air Raid offense. Used more frequently on the collegiate level, the scheme focuses on aggressively attacking defenses with a vertical and horizontal passing game. The scheme uses a high number of four- and five-WR sets with a high percentage of them running routes on each play, generally out of the shotgun or pistol formations. Morton spent the previous two seasons coaching WRs in New Orleans under head coach Sean Payton and the influence was obvious when watching the Jets.
ANDERSON’S CONTRACT SITUATION
What will the Jets front office do with Anderson after two felony arrests in less than a year? The consensus on Twitter and other social media platforms is that the Jets should immediately release him. The organization knows that Anderson will be suspended for his behavior under the NFL’s personal conduct policy. It remains to be seen how many games he will be hit with. No drugs or alcohol were involved based on police reports, but poor decisions have consequences.
Anderson humiliated the Jets organization with this incident and compromised his NFL future from a contract perspective. He is entering the final year of his rookie contract this season and will be a restricted free agent next offseason. The Jets are likely to have contractual control over Anderson through 2019. His salary represents a cap figure of $633,334, but the Jets would only eat $3,333 (signing bonus) in dead money if they cut him. Can they do so?
The Jets do not have adequate depth at the WR position. Anderson has shown progression in his first two seasons and has proven that he is a very good NFL receiver. He turns 25 in May and still has room to develop into something more. The Jets and Bowles will probably provide Anderson, like Sheldon Richardson before him, an opportunity to redeem himself. It does not make financial sense for the Jets to cut him outright, and it’s in their best football interests to help him rehabilitate his career. Anderson has lost any leverage in negotiating a long-term contract after these shenanigans.
The Jets organization has to answer many questions. Will they address QB in free agency or the draft? Who will they add to bolster their depth at WR? Anderson and Jermaine Kearse profile as secondary receivers. These are not the type of players you would build a passing offense around, but given the Jets have higher priority needs at other positions, they may not make any major changes. Chad Hansen and ArDarius Stewart could have expanded roles next season. The bottom line is that Anderson is unlikely to go anywhere. He makes an intriguing buy low in dynasty formats for an overactive fantasy owner.
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