Could the Jets Benefit from the Tight End Market?

David Aitken

New England Patriots v New York Jets

With the franchise tag period having just passed, we now know what the tight end market will look like, barring 11th hour re-signings. The Jets were unable to place the franchise tag on Dustin Keller even if they wanted to given the cap situation, and while he’ll certainly be on the radar as a potential re-signing for the Jets he’s going to get an opportunity to test the market. The Jets weren’t the only team to not franchise a tight end though, as not a single team in the league deemed a pending free agent tight end to be worth the one year salary of just over 6 million the franchise tag demands. Although there is no single prized tight end on the market, there are a number of tight ends available that’ll draw interest from teams as a starter on a longer term deal. The Jets may be able to benefit from this.

In comparison to other skill positions, the top end of the tight end market isn’t nearly as inflated. While the likes of Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Adrian Peterson signed contracts that average annually well over 10 million a season, the tight end market is capped by the standard of the deals Vernon Davis and Rob Gronkowski recently signed – roughly 7 million a season. While Dustin Keller is a very good receiving tight end and would make almost any offense better, he certainly isn’t on the level of those players. Despite that, if he were the only tight end of note on the market, he would probably sign an inflated contract paying him more than his worth and closer to that upper tier of contracts, pricing the Jets out of a potential re-signing. What could work in the Jets favor is that Dustin Keller is one of several tight ends of similar value on the free agent market. Keller, Tennessee’s Jared Cook, Fred Davis of the Redskins, the Giants’ Martellus Bennett and perhaps Baltimore’s Ed Dickson are all receiving tight ends ranging from ages 25 to 28 that will draw interest from teams as a starter. For a team in the market for a tight end, there are several options of a similar quality and thus much less incentive to overpay for one particular tight end over another.

Granted, Dustin Keller is still the best tight end available and thus still could sign the best deal – likely to be similar to the deal signed by John Carlson last year(5 years, 25 million). The Jets may be able to sign Keller to such a deal, though it’ll come down to he versus Landry as they will not be able to retain both. But should the Jets lose Keller, they could still be in the market for a decent replacement. Bennett and Dickson for example would be considered a little risky but should be available at a decent price – Bennett only has last year with the Giants to show for his receiving ability and Dickson is a naturally gifted young player but one that has yet to put it together. Alternatively, if the Jets don’t prioritize signing a natural receiving tight end a decent stopgap like Anthony Fasano could be in the cards with Cumberland seeing an expanded role(it sounds like he’ll be returning).

With some luck, the Jets should be able to find somebody in the free agent market to come in as a starter, whether it’s the incumbent Dustin Keller or someone else. Maybe Idzik will push heavily for Landry and look to sign a stopgap like the aforementioned Fasano. If nothing else, the Jets will have some options.


Why is injuries always the reason why the GIANTS do poorly ???

1st REESE has missed on so many 3rd - 7th draft pick's, that he rosters players with high injury past's.

RB Jennings,

RB Hillis

RB Cox

LB Beason

WR Manningham

OC David Baas

OG Chris Snee

RB Andre Brown,

Aron Ross,

Shaun Rodgers... just to name a few

You where wrong about ELI, you where wrong about Nicks & you are wrong about this... period


@Skookaloop You should seriously think about taking a vacation.....take a month off and clear your head............what did guys do for you when you had them? Did most of them work out OK?....Did they bring you a championship?....those are the questions - Manningham helped win SB 46 and was assessed by our medical guys as worthy of an $$ offer.....Ross was in and out - he too had to pass a medical....btw, he and the others in the  2007 draft class helped this team immensely to win SB 42....Snee was a top-NFL player who helped us win 2 SB's and was also the HC's son-in-law.....that was a 'internal payback' that Mara was 'all in' on (businesses routinely do things like that).......Baas played well enough in his first year to help us beat a ferocious 49'er team in the NFC Championship Game that was better than the following SB!....Brown too had to pass a physical as did Beason and Jennings....Rodgers was brought in as a short-term band aid (teams do this all the time)....Cox was a late-rounder who got hurt - happens all the's football dude....bodies break, whether they are drafted early, mid-round or at the end......

you need to could be worse; in horse racing, the 'players' routinely drop dead on the owners.......

Michael Frias
Michael Frias

@Skookaloop  Seriously?  You put Chris Snee on that list?  4 time Pro Bowler, 2 time SB Champion, AP All Pro 1st teamer in 2008, 2 time All Pro 2nd teamer.

Chris Snee earned every dollar the Giants ever gave him.  Coach's son in law or not.


Jennings is 30, never had a 1,000 yard season and has had injuries......I don't necessarily agree you need a truly exceptional OL to have a good running game, although, that would be a big plus.....However, you do need a better than average one! depends on the talent and toughness of your RB's.....I believe none of the Giants RB's from last year averaged 4 YPC......I like Darkwa - he has good size, is shifty and can catch.....Williams is one dimensional but can play a role.....Vereen is as advertised - can do a lot although he averaged less than 5 carries per game in 4 years with the Pats.......having said that, the WR group will affect the running game if the opposing safeties have to play deep which opens up the running game (they're gonna' have to double-team OBJ or the games will be over by the 3rd quarter)....I like what John Fox did several years ago at Carolina when he ran Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams down everyone's throat.....

Akeem Hunt is super fast and also very small......Ken Harper has good size and is young.....if he has a good camp and pre-season that may KO Jennings, who, may not even survive camp......

last years RB's were mediocre - Williams was a rookie who got better. Darkwa didn't show up until  the end. The Giants need a guy who can take it to the house.....or consistently move the chains......

Williams, Vereen, Darkwa and possibly Harper if he has the talent.....Vereen and Darkwa will catch the ball and run like mice....Williams and Harper(?) will pound the line...if not Harper, then they need another tough back - 3 won't cut it......

another Bradshaw would be lovely!....and they all have to protect Eli.......


The answer to your question is NO. In Fact the Giants used a high draft pick on Wilson and expected him to be that guy but injuries ended his career. So thr giants are now paying for that unlucky break. They could have selected Gurley I believe but OL was too much of a neglected position not to address. What you are left with are average backs.

Giants have still not replaced my favorite giant Brandon jacobs who gave them the toughness the team has lackes. Add in Bradshaw and we had a pretty good combo.

Michael Frias
Michael Frias

These days in the NFL, the RBs are only as good as the OLine blocking in front of them.