Tyler Conklin, TE, NY Jets: 3 years, $21 million
Mike LaFleur and the Jets showed their cards in free agency by signing two capable starting tight ends. The Jets want to play a two-tight-end system on offense, and they put their money where their desires reside.
The Jets' new pairing of C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin is the only tight end duo in the NFL to each have 60-plus catches last season.
The Tyler Conklin signing, in particular, shows you much the Jets value this position in their offensive scheme. Mike LaFleur's system closely resembles his brother Matt's in Green Bay.
Unlike the 49ers' Kyle Shanahan system, the Packers and Jets scheme emphasizes the tight end position rather than featuring a fullback. Get ready for the Jets to live and die on offense with their revamped 12 personnel package.
Conklin is a solid player, not spectacular. He's tough, hard-working, and a reliable pass catcher. Conklin had only one drop last season and the fewest among all NFL tight ends with at least 50 targets. He's coming off of his best season in the NFL where he recorded 61 receptions for Minnesota.
One of Conklin's lesser-known traits is his effectiveness in pass protection, and it's a vital aspect for tight ends often in the Jets' offensive scheme. Mike LaFleur loves to utilize his tight ends in pass protection, particularly on play-action plays.
The signing of Conklin could preclude the Jets from drafting a young tight end. For that reason alone, it's challenging to defend paying $7 million a year to a second tight end. However, the Jets' system doesn't see or value TE2 as a backup because it's an essential part of their offense.