Robby Anderson feels he has made his case clear for where he wants to be in the future.
Money, of course, will have a big say in that. The Jets will, too.
But the pending free-agent wide receiver, who has let his markedly improved play do most of the talking in recent weeks, said Wednesday he wants to remain a Jet beyond this season.
“That’s the goal, the ultimate goal,” Anderson said after practice. “This is where I’ve been. If I wanted to be somewhere else, I would have expressed that a long time ago. That’s obviously not what I want. But it’s a business.”
Anderson may have driven up his price over the last month, looking more like the receiver he believes he can be. In his past four games, the 26-year-old has 22 catches for 370 yards and two touchdowns. In 14 games this season, he has 47 catches for 729 yards and four touchdowns.
Beyond his numbers, though, Anderson has impressed his coaches both with how he has gotten better at making contested catches and how he has become more than just a deep threat. Anderson showed before this season he could take the top off a defense with his speed, but that alone wasn’t going to work in the Jets new offense.
“In coach [Adam] Gase’s offense, you’re just not a one-dimensional receiver,” wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson said. “You gotta be able to run the chop route when we put him on chop routes, put him on drag routes, we put him on crossing routes, deep-ins and stuff like that. That’s another reason his production has gone up. We’ve expanded his route tree.”
Anderson said he likes the variety in routes, showing he can do more than just outrun a cornerback.
“I think a lot of people, they get confused by the fact that I’m able to go deep, like that means I can only do that,” Anderson said. “A lot of people in the NFL can’t go deep, they can only run short routes. I feel like I’ve always been able to do the things I’m doing, I just wasn’t in the style of offense, play-calling, things like that.”
As for the contested catches, Jefferson said it comes down to one area.
“It’s a want-to thing,” Jefferson said. “You can practice it all, but in a game, it’s you against that guy and who wants it? He’s done a hell of a job with it this year.”
But while Anderson thinks he has proven “a lot” with his recent play, he is still not fully satisfied.
“I still feel like I have a lot more to prove. But that’s not my main goal,” Anderson said. “We’re not going to the playoffs, so I would like to prove I can contribute to games like that.”
In order to get there, the Jets have plenty of needs to address in the offseason, including wide receiver. Whether Anderson is included in those plans remains to be seen. He is expected to command at least $11 million per year in free agency, with the likes of Amari Cooper, Emmanuel Sanders and A.J. Green among the top receivers set to hit the market.
The Jets have Jamison Crowder, Quincy Enunwa, Josh Bellamy, Braxton Berrios and Vyncint Smith under contract at receiver next year. Anderson was a restricted free agent last offseason and the Jets brought him back on a one-year, $3.095 million contract. The next one he earns will be much bigger than that.
“I’m not trying to get too far ahead of myself,” Anderson said. “I can’t predict the future, I can only control what I’m doing now.”
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