The NY Jets and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey all but ignored the tight end position during the 2015 season, now it’s time to change that.
Cumberland will be inevitably released to save some cap space. Davis had his fair share of opportunities to make a lasting impact with the green and white, but flopped when given the opportunity. And lastly, Amaro never saw the field as he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during the preseason.
So heading into 2016, most Jets fans have ignored any talk about the tight end position, but that is where things need to change. The passing numbers for the Jets last season were some of the best we’ve ever seen during the illustrious history of the franchise, but not on the inside.
The Jets ranked in the bottom of the league when passing it down the seam and towards the middle of the field. To help the Jets’ dynamic duo Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall improve on their numbers, they must add some stability to the tight end spot in 2016.
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Could the Jets look to improve the position through free agency? In theory that might be the best way to attack their need.
The free agent list is headlined by one of the best tight ends to ever grace an NFL football field in Antonio Gates. Could the Jets woo Gates to the big apple? With a limited cap supply and the only real argument is playing for a potential contender, their sales pitch may not be strong enough.
Looking at the rest of the list including Jared Cook who was just released as a cap casualty from the Los Angeles Rams, here are some of the best eligible free agents:
The good news/bad news scenario for the Jets is that there isn’t a Julius Thomas in this class (a guy that’ll command a $30-40+ million contract). Which is good because the Jets can’t afford to invest that at the position, but bad because that also means other people will have the same opportunity to chase these guys.
Believe it or not the most attractive name immediately that stands out is Watson, who had a career year in 2015. Boasting a career high in yards, receptions and touchdowns with the New Orleans Saints in his 11th season.
Watson could be a stop-gap until either Amaro can get healthy or the Jets draft a younger guy to develop. Vernon Davis was a failure outside of the fact he was on the winning team in Super Bowl 50, but he doesn’t appear to have much left in the tank.
The other intriguing names that are on this list are the pair from Indianapolis. Fleener is hot and cold. Sometimes Fleener shows he can be a dominant tight end in this league and then he goes weeks without a single reception.
Allen is the guy who could step in and be a dominant figure when he’s the featured tight end on a roster. Allen hasn’t ever really broken out since being a third-round pick out of Clemson, but the 6’3 frame and the ability to maintain his speed even at north of 260+ pounds is incredible.
The Jets should consider investing in the tight end position to alleviate pressure off of the rest of the offense. Allen could not only be the tight end of the present, but he could potentially be the tight end of the future.
While the NFL Draft is always the best way to fill out your roster, it’s another pretty weak class for tight ends in 2016. Plus with all the Jets other needs, drafting a tight end may not happen till the end of the draft if at all.