If there was one position that New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas knocked out of the park this offseason, it was tight end.
The franchise noted that they pivoted away from signing a wide receiver during free agency — due to an inflated market — and elected to land two starting tight ends instead in C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin. Then, Douglas paired those additions with a premier developmental prospect at the position, Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert.
It was the ultimate makeover after another pathetic campaign from the position. The acquisitions also allowed the Jets to clean house a bit. Ryan Griffin was released, signing with the Chicago Bears, and free agent Tyler Kroft moved on to San Francisco.
Long-time special teamer Daniel Brown was even let go and the final cut came this May when Douglas released tight end reserve Brandon Dillon in favor of undrafted rookie Calvin Jackson Jr.
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Dillon Earns New Opportunity
According to the New Orleans Saints’ official website, Dillon has signed a new deal to join a tight end room that includes hybrid Taysom Hill, Adam Trautman, Nick Vannett and Juwan Johnson among others.
The former Marian product and undrafted free agent of the Minnesota Vikings has appeared in five games over the past three seasons, logging one reception for six yards. Since he only turned 25 in April, NOLA may feel he’s worth taking a shot on.
The Saints website detailed the journeyman’s background: “Dillon was a standout at NAIA Marian, located in Indianapolis, earning first-team All-Mid State Football Association honors as a junior and senior. He garnered NAIA All-America honors as a senior in 2018 with 35 catches for 603 yards (17.2 average) with five touchdowns, while playing in all 11 games. As a junior in 2017, he finished with 34 catches for 532 yards and four touchdowns.”
After a rash of injuries and COVID-19 designations, the Jets picked up Dillon just before the new year. He was awarded a reserve/future deal for his troubles but never took the field for the Green & White after a brief stay on the practice squad.
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Important Summer Dates to Remember
It may be “summer break” but training camp will be here before you know it. According to CBS Sports, the Jets have decided to begin their rookies-only portion of camp a little earlier than most, on Tuesday, July 19.
The rest of the roster will report one week later, on Tuesday, July 26. From there, the wheels are up in no time and then this plane is airborne.
Before Week 1, there will be cutdown dates chiseled into the preseason schedule as there was before the pandemic. NFL insider Ian Rapoport recently tweeted out the NFL memo containing the “reduction rules and procedures” in 2022.
The major deadlines to remember are the following:
- Tuesday, August 16- Teams will drop from 90 to 85 players.
- Tuesday, August 23- Teams will drop from 85 to 80 players.
- Tuesday, August 30- Teams will make final cuts, from 80 to 53 players.
The Jets will play their three preseason games against the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants in that order on August 12 (7:30 p.m. EST at Lincoln Financial Field), August 22 (8 p.m. EST at MetLife Stadium), and August 28 (1 p.m. EST at MetLife Stadium).
Live From TEU
Speaking of tight ends, the Jets have a few players reportedly taking part in Tight End University this week. The positional summit aimed at raising the TE standard was created by George Kittle, Travis Kelce and former NFL TE Greg Olsen.
First, quarterback Zach Wilson was coaxed into throwing with the best and brightest NFL tight ends, and then teammates Uzomah and Conklin decided to join their new QB1. Both of the new Jets weapons were spotted in Nashville today.
We’ll be keeping you posted with any and all news that comes out of “TEU” heading into the weekend.