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Will NY Jets try to trade a tight end before the regular season?


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https://jetsxfactor.com/2023/05/10/ny-jets-trade-tight-end-regular-season/amp/

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler speculates that the Jets could try to trade a tight end before Week 1. Does this actually make sense, though?

After drafting a tight end in back-to-back years, could one of the New York Jets’ veterans be on the trade block?

The speculation surrounding the New York Jets never seems to end.

Allen Lazard—check. But that’s not good enough: the Jaxon Smith-Njigba hype train, endless Corey Davis rumors, and Randall Cobb outrage had to move on.

Aaron Rodgers—check. Next up in the hysteria train: Quinnen Williams.

So it’s unsurprising that ESPN wanted to stir the pot a little more. This time, they chose another less-discussed position: tight end.

After the Jets signed Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah and drafted Jeremy Ruckert last season, the position seemed pretty well settled for the foreseeable future. In fact, it was so set in many fans’ minds that they called out any mock drafts picking a tight end for the team early.

Still, the Jets did draft a tight end, albeit a final-round swing for athleticism and measurables rather than a positional priority. Zack Kuntz has two conflicting traits: freakish athleticism and not much else in the way of a true NFL tight end.

Still, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote that the Jets could consider a tight-end trade before the season begins. Is there any rationale to that whatsoever?

Reasoning
The Jets selected Kuntz and won’t want to lose him. They also don’t have room for four tight ends. Therefore, one will have to go.


Or at least, that’s what Fowler is thinking.

However, I don’t subscribe to that theory at all. For one thing, who are they going to move? Tyler Conklin is their best TE and isn’t going anywhere. C.J. Uzomah is highly overpaid, but who will take an overpaid tight end?

Jeremy Ruckert? Ruckert is the guy they’re most likely to see as a part of their future. They wouldn’t have taken him in the third round otherwise. He essentially redshirted his first season because there’s a steep tight-end learning curve in the NFL. That means he likely has very little trade value, anyway.

The idea is that the Jets are going to trade one of those three to make room for Kuntz. But why does Kuntz deserve the roster spot more than any of the others?

On a team that employs a lot of 12 personnel (the ninth-highest rate in the NFL in 2022), having a backup tight end with no blocking skills and zero route-running refinement would be ill-advised. It’s hard to imagine the Jets doing so. Even if the Jets could trade Uzomah post-June 1 and save some cap space (which I can’t imagine they can), it would be very risky.

Likelihood
What will more likely happen is that Kuntz tries to make the roster as the fourth tight end. In my way-too-early roster projection, I did not have him making the team. Many, if not most seventh-rounders do not make the Week 1 roster with the team that drafted them.

Sure, the Jets like Kuntz’s athletic upside, but they’re also in win-now mode. They’re not going to hold a roster spot for a player whom they likely can’t throw out there for two years, at minimum.

Redshirting worked for a third-rounder. It’s unlikely to work for a seventh-rounder. More likely than not, Kuntz gets released and the Jets hope to sneak him onto their practice squad. If some other team claims him? Well, that happened with a lot of players the Jets liked last year, highlighted by Jason Pinnock. That’s just what happens sometimes.

Or, maybe the Jets do carry Kuntz—but only as the fourth tight end. Maybe they decide to carry one less linebacker or receiver or offensive lineman. But there’s no way Kuntz can be TE3 this year.

There’s enough drama surrounding the Jets. No need to drum up extra speculation in areas that make little sense.

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The only tight end I think that would have some value is conklin.  But im sure Rodgers knows him from their nfc north battles and wants him on the team.

CJ is a team leader and doesnt have much value so he will be around 1 more year.

Ruckert is the future so hes not going anywhere.

They will stash kuntz on the practice squad I believe.  No one is going to sign him to their 53.  If anyone liked him that much, theyd of drafted him before rnd 7.

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I think Kuntz makes the 53 playing special teams if he shows enough there and a little upside. And if he doesn’t have a good camp, he won’t make the team. Not a big deal for a seventh round pick, worth the dice roll.

And I’d imagine if a team wants Uzomah the Jets would trade him, even though he is overpaid. Not sure it’d be ideal to trade him to an AFC contender, but maybe the Bengals want him back - they really have added very little there.

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I’m not trying to limit the kid or say he can’t or won’t make the team but a combine hero that is raw and needs development is basically what the practice squad is for. Making the 53 is a long shot, dressing on game day just for punt cover team is a waste. 
 

to put him on the field means he may need to play offense in a pinch and he also has to prove he can protect the franchise and run a route the way Rodgers wants it. 
 

 

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44 minutes ago, Bronx said:

Even if the Jets could trade Uzomah post-June 1 and save some cap space (which I can’t imagine they can), it would be very risky.

This is the only realistic option. Trading Uzomah after June 1 saves his entire $3.5M salary (which isn’t gonna be a deal breaker for anyone). It’s the sort of thing you could see later in camp. If Ruckert looks ready for significant playing time, Uzomah becomes less of a need. If another team loses a starting TE, I could see them making him available. It wouldn’t be much about what they got in return so much as saving the cap space. 

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Jets carried 4 TEs on the 53 man roster last season at times.  To me, it comes down to Kuntz vs Yeboah, loser to the PS. No need to trade CJ or Conklin, and having that veteran depth on a win-now squad is worth more than trying to protect developmental players. 

  

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2 hours ago, Joe W. Namath said:

The only tight end I think that would have some value is conklin.  But im sure Rodgers knows him from their nfc north battles and wants him on the team.

CJ is a team leader and doesnt have much value so he will be around 1 more year.

Ruckert is the future so hes not going anywhere.

They will stash kuntz on the practice squad I believe.  No one is going to sign him to their 53.  If anyone liked him that much, theyd of drafted him before rnd 7.

I think he was listed as a priority free agent, and I'm sure other teams would have been interested in signing him post draft.  I think everyone will be looking at how he does in the preseason, and based upon that, you never know what could happen, especially with injuries on other teams.  I would not keep CJ because he is a team leader; we have other team leaders on this team, and I don't think being a team leader is enough to keep him.  He underperformed last season based upon his bloated salary, and if Kuntz shows enough, I would keep him in a New York minute and cut CJ if it comes to that.

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