With Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee likely hitting the free agent market this summer, it’s very possible they don’t return to Jacksonville, especially the way their rookies have emerged. Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole have held it down for Blake Bortles and the offense for the most part with Robinson, Allen Hurns, and then Lee getting banged up and forced out of the lineup. Hurns is under contract for 2018, but the Jags have the option to cut him with a zero dead cap number going into next season; his almost $7M salary due in 2018 might be better used elsewhere as Hurns hasn’t lived up to his deal.
Let’s assume that at least Robinson and Lee sign elsewhere. Who is the guy to own?
Cole has been the big play guy for this offense, and his target numbers flew up to 9 when Lee got hurt at the beginning of their Week 15 game against Houston. Cole caught 7 of his 9 targets for 186 yards and a TD, capping off his 3-game TD streak. Over the next two games without Lee, Cole had 13 and 8 targets, catching 6 for 108 against San Francisco but only 4 for 33 in the last game of the season against the Titans. In these games without Lee, Cole switched from his slot WR role that he played from 11 through 14 to running a majority of his routes on the outside.
Dede, on the other hand, was primarily used on the outside since he made his NFL debut in Week 11. He was getting decent volume for most of his games, averaging 8 targets from Week 12 on, including their wild card game against Buffalo and his 2-target game against Houston. In the three games without Lee, Dede averaged 2 catches for 35 yards.
Dede did have more snaps as a receiver Their roles might play out as Cole being the big play guy and Dede being the posession receiver and more of a reliable asset in PPR, but that’s the initial gut feel as this team is alive and well going into Philly next weekend to try and secure a Super Bowl berth. Looking at these numbers, it seems like Lee was relied upon a bit more, but we have to hear what’s happening in training camp next year and have a better idea as to who’s on the roster.