For the Jets to surround quarterback Sam Darnold with quality wide receivers next season and beyond, they probably will have to buy them in free agency. General manager Mike Maccagnan tried to build a pipeline at the position, but it all but dried up when they released former draft picks ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen in a span of 18 days. Stewart is back on the practice squad after clearing waivers, but his stock has taken a precipitous fall.
Quincy Enunwa, Jermaine Kearse, Terrelle Pryor and Andre Roberts will be unrestricted free agents after the season, meaning the Jets have the 2019 rights to only two of the six receivers on the 53-man roster: Robby Anderson (restricted free agent) and Charone Peake (special-teamer).
As the story said, in a perfect world, Stewart and Hansen—third- and fourth-round picks in 2017, respectively—would be ready to step into starting roles next season. That's how winning organizations operate. When they lose good players in free agency, they replace them with up-and-comers from previous drafts. It's the most cost-effective way to build a team under the salary cap. While the story doesn't expect that to happen, the good news is the Jets are expected to be about $90 million under the cap in 2019.