The Jet Press
Free Agency

Jets dropped the ball not re-signing Austin Seferian-Jenkins

By William Cochrane
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 26: Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins #88 of the New York Jets attempts to make a catch against cornerback James Bradberry #24 of the Carolina Panthers during the fourth quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on November 26, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The play was originally called a touchdown, but was reviewed, ruled as an incomplete pass and reversed. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 26: Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins #88 of the New York Jets attempts to make a catch against cornerback James Bradberry #24 of the Carolina Panthers during the fourth quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on November 26, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The play was originally called a touchdown, but was reviewed, ruled as an incomplete pass and reversed. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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The New York Jets are currently without an established tight end on their roster after failing to come to terms on a contract with Austin Seferian-Jenkins. They dropped the ball in handling contract negotiations.

In September of 2016, the New York Jets took a chance and signed tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released him after his second arrest for driving under the influence.

His first DUI arrest occurred while he was a student at the University of Washington. Regardless of his troubles in college, the Buccaneers used a high second-round pick on the talented tight end during the 2014 NFL Draft.

In 2016, the Jets played him sparingly, however, after missing the team’s first two games of the 2017 season via suspension, Jenkins became a substantial piece in the Jets offense.

The former Washington Huskies star established himself by putting up the best numbers for a Jets tight end since Dustin Keller‘s 2011 campaign. Jenkins finished the 2017 season with 50 catches for 374 yards and three touchdowns.  

The #Jets haven’t budged from their 2-year, $8m offer to Austin Seferian-Jenkins, which was put on the table before season ended.

Still interest on both sides to get something done, but sounds like he’ll hit free agency.

Risky move for NYJ. Seferian-Jenkins will be coveted.

— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) March 12, 2018

New York’s offer was a two-year contract worth $8 million. Just a hair under Jenkins market value of $4.1 million as indicated by Spotrac.

The former Jets tight end wound up signing a two-year deal worth $10 million with the Jacksonville Jaguars. While it’s refreshing to see Gang Green refraining from paying players more than their market value states they’re worth, they dropped the ball here. The fact is the organization has been in need of a tight end that could produce on the offensive side of the ball for quite some time. They had one in Jenkins but failed to sign him back just when he was getting some serious momentum.

In 2014, they used a high second-round draft choice on Jace Amaro and whiffed. Coincidentally, that was the same year and round Jenkins was drafted. Seferian-Jenkins was drafted 11 picks ahead of Amaro.

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Having a tight end that is an offensive threat helps any offense immensely. Opposing defenses must concentrate and cover another position on the field besides just the wide receivers which helps open everything else up.

Tight ends who will be in camp this year fighting for the starting tight end spot include Jordan Leggett, Clive Walford, Eric Tomlinson, Neal Sterling and Bucky Hodges. Hopefully, one of them can fill the void left by Jenkins. 

Seferian-Jenkins was a great 2017 story for the Jets franchise. He was an underdog who had to battle and defeat his alcohol problem, while also being able to show he could excel at his position. The Jets absolutely had the extra $2 million to spend this year. But in the case of Seferian-Jenkins, for some reason, they neglected to make him happy by giving him the same deal he wound up signing with the Jaguars. In my opinion, the Jets, unfortunately, made a big mistake here.

Surely, the extra $2 million the Jets saved could come back to haunt them someday if Seferian-Jenkins continues to get better each year and winds up becoming a star tight end in the NFL.

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