With the New York Jets entering the last week of the season, their eyes have shifted from the playoffs to next season. Like most teams, the Jets are losing many players to free agency; two of those players include their tight ends in Jeff Cumberland and Kellen Winslow.
With Winslow turning 31 before next season starts, his age is becoming a concern for interested teams, not to mention his suspension in 2013 for PED use, while Cumberland only missed one week this year and that was due to a concussion.
Cumberland did not become a factor into the Jets receivers until the third week of the season, yet he still put together a stronger season than Winslow. Both tight ends accumulated over 350 receiving yards, as Cumberland has the edge by 14 yards going into the final week.
Despite having five less receptions than Winslow, Cumberland has four touchdown catches to Winslow’s two. Cumberland, the undrafted free agent out of Illinois, signed with the Jets in 2010 but didn’t become a significant factor until 2012. His next season started off slow, but his workload increased, finally becoming one of Geno Smith’s favorite targets.
His speed at the tight end position is rare to see, which gives him the edge over slower linebackers, who are trying to defend Cumberland. As for Winslow, his over confidence has led to many unneeded comments which could worsen team chemistry.
The Jets need to resign at least one of their two tight ends, while both of which have been a lynchpin to the Jets’ receiving game this year.
Although Winslow may have a bit more tenacity than Cumberland – which leads to his overconfidence – the Jets need a more reliable player in Cumberland to become their starting tight end in 2014. Cumberland has been rather healthy his career and is a couple of years younger than Winslow.
Additionally, Winslow came into the league with a great deal of hype that never panned out the way he or the teams he has been on could have ever thought. While Cumberland came in with virtually no expectations and that could influence in what the Jets do moving forward.