Emerging Jets TE Could Force Team to Explore Trade: Insider

CJ Uzomah, Jets

Getty New York Jets tight end CJ Uzomah reacting on the sideline ahead of an NFL game.

The New York Jets have a loaded tight end room in 2023.

ESPN NFL Insider Jeremy Fowler pointed it out in a column posted on Monday, May 8, and explained what that could mean later this offseason.

“The Jets’ tight end room is pretty deep: C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin are entrenched as starters, Kenny Yeboah is far from a throwaway and Jeremy Ruckert was a third-round pick a year ago. But if [Zack] Kuntz can flash early, perhaps New York could move one of its four tight ends in the preseason.”

Zack Kuntz Development Could Result in Jets Making Moves

Kuntz was the No. 220 overall pick in the seventh round of April’s draft.

Despite being the No. 10 ranked tight end by Dane Brugler of The Athletic, he ended up being the second to last TE that came off the board.

15 tight ends heard their names called through three days of the 2023 NFL draft. Kuntz was the No. 14 tight end selected.

The 6-foot-7, 255-pound playmaker tumbled down draft boards for a variety of reasons. Fowler revealed that one of those reasons was “immaturity” issues during his first three collegiate seasons at Penn State.

NFL Insider Benjamin Allbright called the Jets’ acquisition of Kuntz in the seventh round a “steal.”

ESPN personality and host of Get Up, Mike Greenberg, told Jake Asman that people wouldn’t have been surprised if Kuntz went “certainly in round four” of the draft. He ended up going in round seven.

If he starts to develop on the Jets through training camp and the preseason they will have to make a difficult decision. There appear to be three roster locks in Conklin, Uzomah, and Ruckert.

Would Gang Green keep four tight ends on the 53-man roster? Could they risk placing him on the practice squad making him vulnerable to be signed by any other NFL team?

Which of the Jets Tight Ends Could Be Traded?

When you look at the dead cap numbers to move on from Conklin or Uzomah in 2023, the price tag is exorbitant.

The Jets would eat $9.4 million for Conklin and $12.6 million for Uzomah. That makes those moves, considering the contract restructures this offseason hard to imagine. However, you can never completely rule anything out in the NFL.

Another name that Fowler mentioned was Kenny Yeboah, but he has floated on the Jets practice squad for the last few years and no one has poached him yet. So he wouldn’t muster much value on the trade market.

It is far more palatable to understand the Jets potentially hitting the eject button on Ruckert considering his contract. The dead cap for Ruckert in 2023 is only $636,768 which is super manageable.

However, the Jets haven’t gotten a chance to truly evaluate Ruckert. It would be a shame to trade him before you get a chance to see how things would play out. Although that shroud of mystery would likely intrigue a few NFL teams that graded him highly in the 2022 NFL draft.

Gang Green obviously had a vision when they selected him with the No. 101 overall pick in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft. Last year was a lost cause due to injuries and he should have a chance to pop in 2023.

If Kuntz is going to show flashes this offseason as many expect, it would be neat to see a dynamic young 1-2 punch at tight end for the foreseeable future with the Jets. This will be a situation to monitor as we progress through the offseason.

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments