$21 Million Jets Veteran in Danger of Losing Starting Job: Analyst

Tyler Conklin, Jets

Getty New York Jets tight end Tyler Conklin reacting ahead of an NFL game.

One man’s potential downfall is another man’s opportunity.

The New York Jets are the betting favorites to land Georgia tight end Brock Bowers in the 2024 NFL draft. That is according to ESPN’s analytics which tracks the percentage chance of each player being taken with the No. 10 overall pick in the first round.

If that comes to fruition, veteran Tyler Conklin could be out of a starting role according to Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report.

“Tyler Conklin may not be a household name among NFL tight ends, but he has quietly become a solid contributor for the New York Jets offense over recent years. In each of the past three seasons, the 28-year-old has been targeted 87 times. He has averaged 60 catches over that span and surpassed 550 receiving yards in each of those campaigns,” Davenport explained. “The problem is that with the 10th overall pick in this year’s draft, the Jets are squarely in the mix for tight end Brock Bowers.”

Conklin, 28, is entering the final year of the $21 million contract he signed back in 2022.

A Jets Starter Could Transform Into a Role Player in 2024

Since coming over from the Minnesota Vikings, Conklin has appeared in 34 out of 34 possible games over the last two years. During that run, he played 70% of the offensive snaps in 2023 and 77% of the offensive snaps in 2022.

However if Bowers becomes a member of the Jets, those snap percentages would be destined to drop.

A lot of teams in the NFL utilize multiple tight ends on the field at the same time. The Jets this past season played in 12 personnel (one running back and two tight ends) only 19% of the time. That ranked No. 21 in the NFL in 2023, per Nfelo.

Perhaps the Jets would utilize that formation a little bit more if they had better personnel (ie Conklin and Bowers together).

A Jets analyst described Conklin to me as “solid” and that is something you can live with. However, if you have an opportunity to upgrade you have to strike while the iron is hot.

“Brock Bowers is a rare, explosive play threat from the tight end position. Anytime he touches the ball, he could go for a house call,” B/R draft analyst Derrik Klassen explained. “Bowers has exceptional burst and speed. He tears away from most defenders once he gets the angle on them, and he rarely gets caught from behind. Being a little lighter at 240 pounds certainly helps, but he can explode even compared to other guys his size.”

Conklin Might Not Just Be Getting His Playing Time Reduced

Davenport wrote an article highlighting players who could lose their starting gigs on draft night.

However, Rich Cimini of ESPN took it to another level on the “Flight Deck Podcast.”

“I think a guy like Tyler Conklin could be [on the trade block]. That would be contingent on them drafting Bowers,” Cimini explained on Thursday, April 18.

The Jets might not even get a chance to select Bowers. Cimini revealed on his podcast that, “I don’t think Bowers is a lock to be on the board at [pick] 10. I think there is at least one team, I’m thinking Tennessee at [pick] 7, who could take him.”

If the Jets don’t draft Bowers, they might not take a tight end at all. I spoke with draft analyst Ryan Roberts on “Boy Green Meets Wudi” and he explained the different tiers of tight ends in this class.

He said Bowers is in tier-1 and the next tight end he would list from this draft wouldn’t show up until tier-3.

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