The Seahawks surprised many when they traded receiver Jermaine Kearse to the New York Jets, along with a second round pick, in order to acquire Sheldon Richardson. Kearse had many Seattle fans as a local guy who played his high school and college football in the same area, but certainly fewer supporters following his 2016 season.
Kearse had struggled to the tune of catching 41 of 89 targets (46.1%) with 510 yards and one touchdown. His DYAR dropped to -114, the third-lowest in the league among qualified receivers, ahead of only Jeremy Kerley and Tavon Austin. All the more surprising given that Kearse had 227 DYAR in 2015, the 19th-best mark in the NFL.
But as Coleman Crawford noted here last June, Kearse may have been doing better than many fans suspected.
That showed after Kearse spent his 2017 season with the Jets. He had a career-high 102 targets, making him New York’s second-most popular target after Robby Anderson, who had 114 passes thrown his way. Kearse caught 65 passes (63.7%) for 810 yards and five touchdowns. He’s probably never going to be a dynamic number one threat featured atop many fantasy draft boards, but Kearse proved once again that he’s a solid number two or number three. Just like he did in 2015, when he caught 72.1% of his targets.
His DYAR in 2017 was 146, tied with Larry Fitzgerald at 28th.
Kearse is entering the final year of the contract he originally signed with the Seahawks, set to make $5.5 million against the cap. Would Seattle like to still have him? I am sure you could make that argument, but I think the $5.5 million, if it were to go to any receiver, would be better served to woo Paul Richardson back into the fold. So there may have never been a solid future for Kearse in Seattle, even if that’s where he has spent his entire past.