Jets Urged to ‘Replace’ Veteran Starter

Ryan Griffin Jets

Getty New York Jets tight end Ryan Griffin celebrating with his teammate after a massive play in an NFL contest.

The New York Jets are 3-10 as they head into the final stretch of their 2021 season.

When you come off a disappointing campaign like that, the question about change is less so ‘if it will happen’, it is more so ‘how much will there be?’

Well, one analyst has a pretty good idea where Gang Green should start.

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Bye, Bye, Bye

Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report documented one starter from every NFL team that “must be replaced in 2022.”

For the Jets, he selected veteran starting tight end, Ryan Griffin:

“The Jets aren’t getting much from the tight end position. Ryan Griffin is seventh on the squad with 25 receptions and eighth with 222 yards. For comparison, 32 other tight ends have more receiving yards this season.”

Sobleski later added that the 31-year old has one year left on his deal, but he “shouldn’t be playing nearly as many reps as he has this season.”

Griffin does have one more year on his contract through 2022 with a cap hit of $3.2 million. Although if the Jets decided to just rip off the band-aid and release him outright, they would save the entirety of that salary with zero dead cap.

Here are all of the tight ends on the roster:

Potential Replacement Options

In the offseason, there was a lot of speculation and curiosity about what would the Jets offense look like under the direction of first-time NFL play-caller Mike LaFleur.

Without any prior track record, it was impossible to know exactly who would be the primary targets of the offense, although many of us speculated that the tight end position would be paramount to the success of the unit.

Despite that, the Jets refused to add any significant investments during the 2021 NFL draft or in free agency to the TE spot.

That was clearly a mistake and they’ll have a chance to correct that in the 2022 offseason.

Pro Football Focus ranked and broke down the top-75 NFL free agents that are set to hit the open market next March.

Seven tight ends made the list (listed in order of their ranking):

  • Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins
  • Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys
  • David Njoku, Cleveland Browns
  • Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals
  • Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks
  • Evan Engram, New York Giants

As cool as Gronk would be, that isn’t happening. Although the other six tight ends on the list could all make sense for a variety of reasons.

Gesicki seems like a natural fit as a receiving weapon, almost like a bigger slot. Njoku/Engram are cut from a similar cloth as athletic pieces of clay that just haven’t been able to put the pieces together.

Regardless of what option you prefer (let us know in the comments below), it’s time for the Jets to get serious about upgrading the talent around their young quarterback Zach Wilson.

Acquiring a reliable security blanket this offseason should be a major priority for the green and white.

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