Jets Encouraged to Sign One Of Aaron Rodgers’ Favorite Targets

Robert Tonyan

Getty The Jets could give Aaron Rodgers another of his old teammates in Robert Tonyan.

The New York Jets have signed a handful of Aaron Rodgers‘ old teammates, but another one makes a lot of sense in free agency is veteran tight end Robert Tonyan.

Bleacher Report’s Joe Tansey laid out a few free agents that the Jets should still pursue heading into training camp. Two Kansas City Chiefs veterans in Jerick McKinnon and Donovan Smith made the list.

However, the most noteworthy name was Tonyan. The veteran tight end played with Rodgers during their time with the Green Bay Packers.

“The Jets have Tyler Conklin as their No. 1 tight end, but after that, there is not much proven depth,” Tansey wrote. “The Jets would be taking a risk on Tonyan, but it may be worth it if the Rodgers-Tonyan connection even produces three or four touchdowns in 2024.”

Robert Tonyan Needs a Fresh Start

There was a time where Tonyan looked like one of the league’s best tight ends. While he’s not there anymore, a fresh start could help him find his footing again.

Tonyan is one of the better undrafted free agent stories of the last decade. A former quarterback at Indiana State, he made the switch to receiver after his freshman year. However, at 6’4″ and 236 pounds, Tonyan entered the pre-draft process as a tight end.

The lack of tight end experience had Tonyan go undrafted in 2017. The Detroit Lions picked up him as a UDFA, but was released during final roster cuts. Green Bay scooped him up a few weeks later, but it wasn’t until 2020 that he really found his footing.

Tonyan lit up that stat sheet during the 2020 season. He finished the year with 52 catches for 586 yards and a league-leading 11 touchdowns for tight ends. The Packers were hopeful for another year like that in 2021, but a torn ACL cut his season short.

Unfortunately, Tonyan was never able to replicate his 2020 success. The Chicago Bears gave him a one-year flier this past season, but he caught just 11 passes in 17 games.

At 30 years old, Tonyan’s best football may be behind him. However, his previous connection with Rodgers could be enough to help him find some of his old production if he landed with the Jets.

The Jets Need Tight End Depth

After passing up on Brock Bowers in the 2024 NFL Draft, tight end remains a big need for the Jets.

The Jets have some intriguing names on their depth chart, but no truly dominant tight ends. Tyler Conklin remains the team’s top player at the position, and has had a productive couple of seasons in New York. He’s already caught 119 passes for 1,173 yards and three touchdowns in two years with the Jets.

Things aren’t great behind Conklin, unfortunately. Jeremy Ruckert and Zack Kuntz provide some intriguing young options that have been waiting for their opportunity.

That being said, Rodgers has been quick to single out Kuntz, who he believes he is continuing to build chemistry with. The 6’7″ tight end is the most athletic player ever recorded at the position by Relative Athletic Score.

If Kuntz can hit his full potential, the Jets may be set at tight end. However, a more established veteran like Tonyan might add some stability to the position.

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