Ex-Jets 2021 Starter Signs Contract With 49ers: Report

Tyler Kroft, Alijah Vera-Tucker, Denzel Mims

Getty Former New York Jets tight end Tyler Kroft (#81) celebrates with his old teammates on October 31, 2021.

At this point in the offseason, there aren’t too many New York Jets unrestricted free agents that are still available on the open market.

Today on May 23, another domino fell as veteran tight end Tyler Kroft agreed to terms with the San Francisco 49ers. His agent, Mike McCartney announced the deal as NFL insider Adam Schefter confirmed.

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49ers West Decides to Flip the Script

Many have joked that the Jets are turning into “49ers East” on social media, but this time San Francisco grabbed an ex-player from the NYJ well.

This move makes plenty of sense. For the same reasons Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur was interested in Kroft in the first place, Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan will provide him with an opportunity now.

It’s no secret that the 49ers have one of the best tight ends in the NFL on their roster in George Kittle, but Kroft proved that he can no longer be relied on as a starter after his 173-yard campaign in 2021. Lingering injuries have always been an issue for the dual-threat TE and his production has never lived up to his potential because of it.

When Kroft signed in New York, he was a nice story with local ties to Rutgers but he was never the starting tight end that fans or even the front office desired. Many were looking at a bigger name like Jonnu Smith to fill the void and in the end, the former Cincinnati Bengal wasn’t able to get the job done.

Kroft will finish his Jets career with six starts (nine appearances), 16 receptions, 173 yards, nine first downs, one touchdown, and a catch rate of 64%. Unfortunately, his best outing probably came during the preseason in Green Bay.

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Jets Had Already Moved On

There’s really no harm no foul on this loss. General manager Joe Douglas had long since moved on from Kroft and Ryan Griffin — who signed with the Chicago Bears — when he inked veterans C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin.

Ironically, he replaced one Bengals tight end with another but that makes sense from a scheme similarity standpoint. Cincy head coach Zac Taylor is a disciple of Sean McVay, and don’t forget that McVay and LaFleur come from the same line of thinking.

The Jets also triple-downed on the position with a promising developmental prospect in the draft, Jeremy Ruckert out of Ohio State.

Now, 2021 reserves like Trevon Wesco and Kenny Yeboah will be hard-pressed to make the active roster in training camp. Don’t forget wide receiver convert Lawrence Cager, who rounds out the current group of six.

Kroft ended up serving as a one-year stopgap during a forgettable season. By all intents and purposes, he was a good teammate, but he won’t really be missed much other than that. We do wish him good luck and a healthy campaign out in San Francisco.

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