The Jacksonville Jaguars lost 15 consecutive games in 2020 and knew that they had to revamp their roster if they wanted to turn things around. Thus, they have made many changes during free agency, and one of them included the decision to move on from wide receiver Keelan Cole, who has now joined the New York Jets.
Cole signed a one-year deal worth $5.5 million with the Jets, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. Later, Schefter added that Cole drew as much, if not more interest, than some of the big-name wide receivers in the open market. There could be many reasons for this, the main one being that the salary cap went down in 2021 and most teams were working with a limited budget.
Big-name wideout such as Kenny Golladay and JuJu Smith-Schuster are still available at the time of writing (the former visited the Chicago Bears before meeting with the New York Giants). This could be due to the kind of salary demands they have made and teams looking for value in the open market.
Cole isn’t a top-tier wideout but he’s a solid route-runner that can line up in the slot or out wide. He is a solid pickup for a Jets team that already has a promising second-year wide receiver in Denzel Mims.
The Jacksonville Jaguars made a business decision with Keelan Cole.
If Cole drew as much interest as Schefter says, why didn’t the Jaguars make an effort to bring him back? After all, the wide receiver wanted to stay in Jacksonville and mentioned once that he ‘would rather be a Jaguar than a Falcon or like a bird or some [expletive]’.
The answer is simple, Marvin Jones Jr., whom the Jags recently signed, is better than Cole. Also, Jacksonville got a good deal in the former Detroit Lions wide receiver and his $7.25 million per year. While Cole has scored five receiving touchdowns just once in his NFL career, Jones has done it five times and has hauled in nine receiving touchdowns in three of the last four seasons.
The Jaguars made a business decision when they decided not to bring back Cole and he did the same when he joined the Jets. Both parties did what they thought was in their best interest and surely hope it will work out in the long run.