The New York Jets have a laundry list of needs to address in the 2022 offseason.
Among them is the massive void at tight end. It has been a long time since the green and white have possessed one that struck fear into opposing defensive coordinators.
Certainly this season their bevy of tight ends has had the opposite effect on defenses:
- Ryan Griffin: 23 receptions for 194 yards and two touchdowns
- Tyler Kroft: 10 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown
- Trevon Wesco: two receptions for 16 yards
This offseason they’ll have an opportunity to hit the refresh button and one analyst believes they could go big-game hunting for a Pro Bowl tight end.
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Could Solve a Major Offensive Problem
On I’m Just Saying with Brian Mazique, NFL analyst Ryan Sanudo said that Detroit Lions’ tight end TJ Hockenson is someone he would target if he was the Jets.
“The Jets haven’t had a good tight end in a long time. I think the Lions would ask for a first-rounder at first [in potential trade negotiations], but maybe a second-round pick for TJ? Imagine Mike LaFleur and Hockenson where an offense would be catered to him?”
If it would take a second-round pick, that is something general manager Joe Douglas would have to strongly consider.
The 24-year-old is in the midst of his third professional season and he has quickly established himself among the five best tight ends in all of football.
During that span, he has racked up 160 receptions for 1,673 yards and 12 touchdowns. The highlight came in 2020 when he earned his first Pro Bowl nomination.
Some may be asking themselves, why the heck would Detroit even consider this?
Well, they’re in the middle of a total rebuild and own the worst record in football at 1-10-1. The Lions aren’t going anywhere any time soon, so instead of wasting Hockenson’s talent they can ship him off and get some assets to accelerate their own turnaround.
Exactly What the Doctor Ordered
The Jets have to do everything in their power to surround their rookie quarterback, Zach Wilson, with as much talent as possible.
Acquiring an upgrade at tight end should be a high priority for Gang Green this offseason.
A good TE can provide three key components:
- Red zone weapon
- Mismatch nightmare
- Security blanket
The Jets are middle of the pack in red zone scoring percentage (59.5 percent, which ranks 16th in the NFL). Having a reliable weapon that can win in 50-50 ball situations and run that fade route at the goal-line is priceless.
What the green and white have been missing on offense is someone who can consistently attack the seam. They need a tight end that can run by linebackers and body-up defensive backs.
While the last bullet point is arguably the most important. When a quarterback goes through all his progressions and the play starts breaking down, having a tight end as a security blanket and a last resort is paramount.
We have seen it a lot in the NFL this season where a good tight end can bail a quarterback out. A five-yard dump-off can quickly develop into a much bigger play with a broken tackle.
It is time for the Jets to get serious and give Wilson another toy to play with on offense.