With second-year starting tight end Chris Herndon set to serve a four-game suspension to start the 2019 NFL season, the New York Jets have begun to add more depth at the tight end position.
Prior to the start of the 2018 NFL season, 23-year-old Chris Herndon, who was drafted by the New York Jets out of the University of Miami, was arrested on DUI charges. That situation, in addition to previous injury issues, made his future a bit unclear.
When the dust settled on the 2018 season, however, Herndon proved to be a bright spot for the Jets, totaling 39 receptions for 502 yards and four touchdowns. Because of that, his four-game suspension due to violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy is certainly not ideal for the Green and White.
But with training camp now underway and the regular season fast approaching, the Jets must take action in order to ensure they have options with Herndon sidelined. That process began earlier this week when the Jets officially announced that they had signed Ryan Griffin.
We have signed TE Ryan Griffin.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) July 22, 2019
Known primarily as a pass-catching tight end, the 29-year-old Griffin played for the Houston Texans from 2013-18. Last season, he appeared in 14 games and totaled 24 receptions for 305 yards. On his career as a whole, he has brought in 136 receptions for 1,491 yards and seven touchdowns.
Following the 2018 season, Griffin, who played his collegiate ball with Connecticut, was arrested on charges of vandalism and public intoxication which led to his release from the Texans. However, he could very well serve as the Jets starter to open up the season given the fact that the other tight ends on the team’s roster are seen primarily as blocking tight ends.
In addition to Griffin, the Jets also announced today that they have officially come to terms on a deal with Temuchin Hodges. After being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Hodges spent three months last summer with the Jets. He then spent last season on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ practice squad before signing a reserve/future contract with the team but he was ultimately waived in April.
Playing his collegiate ball at Virginia Tech, Hodges recorded 133 receptions for 1,747 yards and 20 touchdowns. Based on these statistics, Hodges could also potentially provide the Jets with an option in the passing game in the absence of Herndon.
Upon these two signings, the Jets now have the following tight ends under contract: Herndon, Griffin, Eric Tomlinson, Trevon Wesco, Daniel Brown, and Hodges. With Herndon out, Griffin and Hodges may be called upon to serve as options in the passing game. Tomlinson, Wesco, and Brown, however, are known more for their blocking skills.
In the end, though, this is Herndon’s job. While he serves his suspension, the five aforementioned players will have their opportunities to prove they’re worthy of a roster spot but come Week 4, the Jets will have likely trimmed down their tight end group.