Although the New York Jets significantly improved their team through free agency and the draft, some major roster holes remain. A recently released offensive weapon could help them address one of their greatest remaining areas of need.
At least by their team’s standards, New York Jets fans have a great deal to be excited about in 2018. Through a combination of free agency and the 2018 NFL Draft, the Jets built an elite secondary (re-signed Morris Claiborne, signed Trumaine Johnson), added a few offensive weapons (signed Terrelle Pryor, signed Isaiah Crowell), and may have finally found their franchise quarterback (drafted Sam Darnold in the first round).
However, it’s no secret that the Jets (5-11) were a pretty bad team last year. They still have multiple roster holes to address. The team’s greatest current weakness has to be at the tight end position. After losing Austin Seferian-Jenkins in free agency, the Jets are left without a single reliable option at the position.
It’s difficult to provide the Jets’ current depth chart at tight end, mainly because that would imply that any of their bad options are better than the others. But here is the team’s current list of tight ends:
The Jets are hopeful that their recent draft picks Leggett or Herndon could evolve into starters. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the team does not have a single proven tight end on its roster.
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Fortunately for the Jets, a solid tight end suddenly became available. The New Orleans Saints just released Coby Fleener. Mainly since he battled injuries and diminished production (22 receptions, 295 yards, two touchdowns) last year. Even at his best, no one is confusing him with Rob Gronkowski.
However, Fleener has posted three seasons of 600+ yards, including a career year in 2014 when he accounted for 774 yards and eight touchdowns.
If there’s any chance that Fleener could come close to replicating those numbers, the Jets have to sign him. Given his struggles last year, the price tag to sign Fleener shouldn’t be too high. The Jets have more than enough remaining cap space to make a few more moves including this one.
This move becomes all the more paramount when you consider the likelihood that Darnold will start for the Jets at some point this season. Rookie quarterbacks benefit greatly when they’re able to make the easy safe throws to tight ends.
The Jets have had a wonderfully productive offseason, and they’re close to becoming competitive again. Hopefully, they keep the progress going, and bring a talented pass-catching tight end to the Meadowlands in Fleener who likely still has some gas left in the tank.