2024 Free Agency Fallout: Jerry Jeudy Traded to the Cleveland Browns

Jerry Jeudy Denver Broncos

Before free agency opened, the Denver Broncos continued their “2024: Down to the Studs” approach of team disassembly, moving on from former first-round pick Jerry Jeudy, who never clicked fully with the Broncos. Denver traded Jeudy to the Browns in return for a 2024 sixth-round pick and a 2024 fifth-round pick. His best season came in 2022, where he posted 67 catches for 972 yards and six touchdowns in Russell Wilson’s first season with the squad. Now, he takes his talents to the Mistake by the Lake, but what does this mean for the Browns’ passing game, and the highly-in-flux Denver wide receiver room, for fantasy football?

First and foremost, this is an absolute steal for the Browns, who have now spent a second, two-fifths, and a sixth to get Elijah Moore, Cedric Tillman, Jerry Jeudy, and Amari Cooper as their wide receiver room. Forget stumbling all over their feet with the Deshaun Watson move, that’s an impressive (and shrewd) way to build a wide receiver room, and with the eminent Tyler Boyd departure, the potential Tee Higgins departure, the Diontae Johnson departure, and the overall state of the Baltimore Ravens’ wide receiver room, they now have the best room in the entire AFC North by a wide margin. 

Here’s the real stinker of the trade, though: who, ultimately, cares where Jerry Jeudy plays in 2024? Unless he stepped into a real prime situation to soak up targets, he would remain a murky WR2 or WR3 on almost every team he joined. That’s no difference with the Broncos, as they seem satisfied with Elijah Moore as their WR2 last season, giving him over 100 targets for the first time in his three-year career. 

If you want to see the upside of Jerry Jeudy, look no further than his target usage statistics. On a per-target basis, he was nearly identical to both his average yards per target to Tee Higgins (12.8 aDOT for Higgins, 12.75 for Jeudy) and his RACR (ratio of air yards converted into actual yards), where 0.01 separate Jeudy and Higgins. Jeudy is still a good football player on a per-target basis, he just hasn’t shown that he deserves WR1 volume in the NFL. With the Browns, I expect him to end up right around 100 targets, but with Deshaun Watson throwing him the football, I worry about his prospects. 

Say what you want about Russell Wilson, but he thrived in the range where Jerry Jeudy feasts. Of the 46 quarterbacks to throw at least 15 passes between 10 and 15 yards downfield, where Jeudy’s aDOT indicates he lives, Wilson ranked eighth in Fantasy Points’ “Highly Accurate Pass” (ACC%) statistic, as well as CPOE (completion percentage over expectation). What does all this mean? That Broncos Country, Let’s Ride (I had to use it one last time) meant “I am going to get Jerry Jeudy quality targets in the area of the field where he thrives.”

Unfortunately, Deshaun Watson wasn’t so kind to his receivers in the same area of the field. Watson’s CPOE in Jeudy’s sweet spot was 34th-of-46 quarterbacks, and his ACC% ranked 23rd, just 0.1% ahead of Bryce Young, 0.2% ahead of Sam Howell, and 0.3% ahead of Aiden O’Connell. So, he was barely better in that range than Should Be Benched, Will Be Benched, and Was Just Benched For A Meme. Yikes.

Ultimately, that makes Jeudy a speculative WR5 or WR6, someone I wouldn’t take before the double-digit rounds, as a speculative add. Ultimately, however, I would likely take a flier on a running back there. His path to success has too many hurdles for me to like drafting him, as his upside is that he, “beats out Elijah Moore for the #3 target on a run-first team with bad quarterback play.” No thanks.

Now, for the wide receiver room he left in Denver. First and foremost, I can’t stress enough that the Broncos do not currently have a quarterback. So, I can’t go too deep on what might happen with the WR corps there. However, I can gush about Marvin Mims. The Broncos cleared the runway for Mims, who was getting Jaxon Smith-Njigba price checks on fantasy football Twitter after the trade. Mims only ran 15.4 routes per game, which ranked 100th in the NFL last season. He barely played, but when he did play, he was electric. Mims had four of Denver’s seven longest plays from scrimmage, as well as a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. 

Courtland Sutton should continue in his role, and there are no other contenders in the offense to stop Mims from stepping up to get about 100 high-aDOT targets. Before the trade, Marvin Mims was WR68 on Footballguys, I would happily cut that in half and take him as a high-upside WR3 in any and all drafts, and that’s without knowing the quarterback.

About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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