Tight end Dustin Keller is scheduled to become a free agent March 12, and all indications are the Jets will let him hit the open market, Brian Costello of the New York Post reports. The 28-year-old does not know what to expect from the free agency process.
“I kind of view free agency like the draft, at this point I don’t know where anyone stands, including the Jets, but everything will take care of itself,” Keller told The Post in an email. “I’m not stressing myself out about where I’m going to be, I’m just going to continue to work my butt off this offseason so I’m ready no matter where I’m going to be.”
Still, Keller made it clear he would love to be back with the Jets. He remains close with quarterback Mark Sanchez as well as others on the team that selected him in the first round of the 2008 draft out of Purdue.
“Yeah, I’d like to return,” he said. “I have a lot of great friends on the team, and I’ve always thought of myself as a key piece of the offense there, but if I’m not there that’s fine, too. There are no hard feelings. I understand it’s a business for the Jets, but at this point it’s a business decision for me as well.”
Keller hoped to get a long-term extension before last season, similar to what he saw teammates Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Sanchez receive. But former general manager Mike Tannenbaum declined.
“Did I want to sign a new deal before last season? Yes,” Keller said. “Am I angry about it? No. Like I said, I understand the business side. I signed a five-year deal and I played through that whole contract, even though recent first-round picks have re-signed with a year left. So I think I deserve the right to see what else is out there.”