Giants First-Round Talent Listed as Free Agent Jets Should ‘Avoid’

Evan Engram

Getty New York Giants tight end Evan Engram on January 9, 2022.

We have done a lot of talk about potential targets for the New York Jets in free agency, the draft and via trade but ruling out players to steer clear of can be just as important sometimes.

On January 24, Heavy on NFL’s official podcast — “Heavy Presents I’m Just Saying with Brian Mazique” — tackled this question head-on for Gang Green.

The panel of analysts was asked to respond to the talking point: “Who should the Jets avoid this offseason?” One response, in particular, stood out to us at Heavy on Jets.

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Engram Not the Solution to Jets TE Problem

What Players Jets Avoid In the Offseason?#Jets #NewYork #NFL The NY Jets have a ton of money to spend in free agency. They will also have some choice draft selections. The assets are in place for the Jets to make a pretty impressive turnaround in 2022. Looking ahead to free agency and the NFL Draft, the IJS panel decides on the…2022-01-27T03:54:14Z

NFL analyst Ryan Sanudo went first and his suggestion made a ton of sense. He replied:

I’m going to go with Evan Engram, tight end for the Giants. The [Jets] obviously have needed a tight end since Dustin Keller like 12 years ago. It’s just been an utter disgrace at the tight end position — Jace Amaro, oh my god the list goes on… Yeah Evan Engram, I think they should honestly get a guy like either [Mike] Gesicki or Dalton Schultz in the offseason, maybe draft a tight end but Evan Engram, I mean the durability is not there. If it was a discount let’s say they’re desperate, I would still be a little bit iffy on that situation. [On top of] durability he has drop [issues] at times. Giants fans can [attest] to it. I didn’t really like it at the time when they drafted him but he’s shown some glimpses in the first couple [of] seasons — year one, year two. But man, he never had a rapport with any of his quarterbacks and you can sense sometimes his effort as well [was lacking], and the durability, I think I said it a million times with the guy but I think that [would be] a very sketchy pick if the Jets try and get Evan Engram [NYJ] should know first-hand because you literally share a stadium with the Giants.

Mazique chimed in after Sanudo was done, agreeing with his choice and I’ll second that concurrence. The host compared him to another first-round talent in David Njoku.

Both were athletic pass-catchers out of college that never lived up to expectations in the pros. I’ll go one step further and say he reminds me of Chris Herndon 2.0 for NYJ. The combination of injuries, key drops, and fumbles make him a near-spitting image of the ex-Jet tight end.

Not only does Engram fail to live up to the billing as a dual-threat blocker in Mike LaFleur’s run-heavy offense, but he doesn’t even deliver as a weapon. The Giants first-rounder out of Mississippi surpassed the 600-yard receiving mark twice during his five years with Big Blue — once as a rookie in 2017 and again during his lone Pro Bowl campaign in 2020.

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Douglas & Saleh Giving Mixed Signals at TE

Jets HC Robert Saleh came out and told reporters that the Jets are looking for dual-threats at tight end in 2022. Guys that can hold their own as blockers before taking off on play-action right through the heart of the defense.

The model’s ceiling is George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers but the floor is still different from Engram. Pro Football Focus graded the Giants TE a 46.6 in run-blocking this season. His career average in that area was 52.3.

I’d be very surprised if Joe Douglas signed Engram for that reason alone, not to mention the others that Sanudo stated. At the same time, recent Jets moves at the tight end position have given off some mixed signals.

On January 25, for example, Gang Green worked out Jevon Cottoy — a 6-foot-5 hybrid pass-catcher out of the Canadian Football League.

They also brought back former wide receiver Lawrence Cager on a futures deal, this time signing him to compete for a tight-end role. Like 2021 rookie Kenny Yeboah, Cager can block out in space so these players may actually fit the scheme more than it seems — even if they don’t specialize as in-line TEs.

Engram does not fit in any way, shape or form. Oh, and one last point — if Engram is looking for a fresh start, swapping jerseys at MetLife Stadium is probably the last thing he’d want to do.

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