Dec. 2, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller (81) celebrates on the field against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

An Under the Radar Alternative for the New York Jets at Tight End?

For all of the good work that John Idzik and the Jets have done so far at improving this roster, one position has gone by the wayside. That position is tight end, and it is not only the Jets’ fault. They really made no effort to bring back Dustin Keller, so he has defected to Miami. Today, Fred Davis was schedule to make a free agent visit with the team, until he cancelled the visit late last night.

What are the Jets to do here? Clearly, they do need some assistance at the position. There isn’t enough evidence for the Jets to be enamored with Jeff Cumberland. Everyone is high on the work ethic and progress of Hayden Smith, but the fact is, he just learned the game of football last year. It’s hardly fair to expect him to take the team by storm after never picking up a football before 2012. Konrad Reuland is a nice player, but it’s hard to call him a starter at this point as well.

What are the Jets to do? Well, there is a free agent tight end, that still isn’t old, has had a quality career prior to 2012, and I believe could be had by the New York Jets. His name?

KELLEN WINSLOW, JR

Kellen was reportedly interested in returning to his original NFL team, the Cleveland Browns, but the team does not seem to be returning said interest.  I read a report that the Raiders were interested, but that really hasn’t paned out either.

So, why not jump in if you are the New York Jets?

Take a look at his career:

Year Team G Rec Yds Avg Yds/G Lng TD 20+ 40+ 1st FUM
2012 New England Patriots 1 1 12 12.0 12.0 12 0 0 0 1 0
2011 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16 75 763 10.2 47.7 37 2 5 0 40 2
2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16 66 730 11.1 45.6 41T 5 10 2 36 1
2009 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16 77 884 11.5 55.2 42T 5 10 1 47 0
2008 Cleveland Browns 10 43 428 10.0 42.8 30 3 3 0 25 1
2007 Cleveland Browns 16 82 1,106 13.5 69.1 49 5 17 1 56 2
2006 Cleveland Browns 16 89 875 9.8 54.7 40 3 11 1 42 1
2005 Cleveland Browns 0 0.0
2004 Cleveland Browns 2 5 50 10.0 25.0 21 0 1 0 3 0
TOTAL 93 438 4,848 11.1 52.1 49 23 57 5 250 7

From 2006-2001, that is an average of 72 receptions per season. In comparison, Dustin Keller has never topped the numbers of Winslow, in the years Winslow played all 16 games. Keller’s best year was 65 receptions, while Winslow has posted 89 and 82 reception seasons.

Kellen has had his injury problems, and not necessarily due to issues on the field. He tore his ACL in a motorcycle accident, paving his way to the “PUP” list for the 2005 season. In 2008, Winslow missed time after being hospitalized with a “staph infection”. That year, he openly criticized Browns’ management, accusing them of hiding his injury, which would indicate some character issues.

Like I said, he clearly has been a productive tight end throughout his career. When on the field, and healthy, he gets the job done. He has been available for so long, it’s hard to believe that he couldn’t be signed to a one year deal, with a low salary, and incentives. Talk to the guy. If his character is acceptable, why not give him a shot?

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Tags: Kellen Winslow Jr New York Jets Nfl Free Agency

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