The New York Jets just accomplished a series of rare feats during free agency with another surprising move.
On Wednesday, March 16, Gang Green signed former Minnesota Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin to a three-year deal for $21 million.
Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network were the first to share the news on social media.
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A Statement Was Made
The Jets adding a second tight end, after paying over $24 million to former Cincinnati Bengals playmaker CJ Uzomah was surprising enough, but there was something even greater that stood out about this latest addition.
As Garafolo shared on Twitter, several teams were “in on Conklin”, including the Bengals, but the veteran chose to join the Jets.
After hearing earlier in the week that star safety Marcus Williams would’ve only played for the Jets if they paid $3 million more per season than the Baltimore Ravens’ offer, it is refreshing to hear a player want to come and play for Gang Green of his own volition.
The 26-year-old (will be 27 by the start of the 2022 season) is coming off of a career season and is ready to explode. Conklin hauled in 61 receptions for 593 yards and secured three touchdowns.
Another thing to like about the veteran is his reliability. According to Michael Nania of Jets X-Factor, he only recorded one drop last season which ranked near the top of the league.
Similar to Uzomah, his previous career statistics won’t wow you, but the Jets aren’t paying either of these players for what they did in the past, they’re paying them for what they can do in the future.
Double Dip of Serious Investments
Thankfully the Jets were as disgusted with the tight end position as all of us were last season. It was an unacceptable disgrace that stunted the entire offensive flow.
This time around general manager Joe Douglas turned up the heat and aggression to completely overhaul the position.
Also, it was very interesting that the Jets took a page out of their rival’s playbook.
While the Jets didn’t spend nearly as much, only $45 million, it still shows the dedication to improving the position.
A pair of tight ends of this caliber can completely change the dynamic of the offense.
Last year offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur was hamstrung by his limited options at the position. Now the options will be limitless with two very capable pass catchers.
Also one final note, with this level of investment, it seems incredibly unlikely that the Jets would invest a premium resource at tight end during the 2022 NFL draft. If the team takes the plunge, don’t expect it until day three of the draft.