If the No. 1 question facing the Jets this summer was “Who is going to throw the ball?” a close second was “Who is going to catch the ball?” Well, both appear to have finally been answered.
Just a week after naming Josh McCown the team’s starting quarterback, the Jets brought back a familiar face, signing ex-Jet Jeremy Kerley to a one-year deal.
Kerley, who was drafted by the Jets in 2011 and spent five seasons with the team, was cut by the 49ers on Saturday after spending one season in San Francisco.
The move came just a few days after the Jets traded for receiver Jermaine Kearse.
Kerley said as soon as he was released he reached out to Jets coach Todd Bowles about a potential return.
“I didn’t want to be anywhere else. …This is the place where I felt the most comfortable,” Kerley said. “At the end of the day, it was kind of the perfect fit.”
Kerley’s best season with the Jets came in 2012 when he led the team with 827 receiving yards. He also served as the team’s primary punt returner that season, averaging 10.9 yards and returning one punt for a touchdown.
Kerley, however, fell out of favor when Todd Bowles was named head coach and brought in Chan Gailey as his offensive coordinator in 2015. Kerley finished the year with a career-low 16 receptions for 152 receiving yards, before being subsequently released that offseason.
Bowles said Kerley’s lack of playing time and production was a schematic issue due to the Jets running an outside passing offense that featured Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. However, with Marshall and Decker both gone, he now envisions a bigger role for Kerley in his second stint with the team.
“It’s not that he couldn’t play, he just didn’t fit in the scheme we were running,” Bowles said. “And now that we’re running the (current) scheme we’re running, we have a little different game plan on how to use the slot receiver and he fits that role.”
ONE (FOUR) IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER
Although Jeremy Kerley is a familiar face around One Jets Drive, he was not wearing his familiar No. 11 jersey. Instead, Kerley wore No. 14, as undrafted second-year receiver Robby Anderson has been wearing No. 11 in Kerley’s absence.
Kerley said he’s going to “keep his money” rather than pay Anderson for No. 11, but added he’s “not cool” with No. 14 because it looks “goofy” and hopes to switch to a different number.
Safety Rontez Miles (cut under eye) and rookie tight end Jordan Leggett (sprained knee) did not practice Wednesday. Neither practiced on Monday as well. Bowles said Miles suffered an orbital fracture in two places in his eye and will not play Sunday… The Jets signed tight end Neal Sterling and waived wide receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow, the team announced Wednesday.