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Trade Bait: C.J. Uzomah?


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https://jetsxfactor.com/2023/05/17/ny-jets-trade-cj-uzomah/

Could the New York Jets trade TE C.J. Uzomah?

When breaking it down, there are a lot of reasons to believe TE C.J. Uzomah is a potential surprise trade candidate for the New York Jets.

By
 David Wyatt-Hupton
 - 
 05/17/2023
C.J. Uzomah, NY Jets, Trade Rumors C.J. Uzomah, New York Jets, Getty Images

The New York Jets have a logjam at tight end that could be solved with a trade

Joe Douglas spent considerable resources upgrading the New York Jets‘ tight end room last off-season. Going from Tyler Kroft and Ryan Griffin to Tyler Conklinand C.J. Uzomah is a noticeable upgrade.

The upgrade in production was noticeable as well. In 2021, the Jets’ TEs produced 51 catches for 534 yards and three touchdowns. Those numbers jumped to 80 catches for 792 yards and five touchdowns in 2022. With improved quarterback play in 2023, those numbers are expected to continue climbing.

What’s unclear right now is who’s going to be catching those Aaron Rodgers bullets. Last year, the Jets broke camp with four tight ends on the roster: Conklin, Uzomah, Jeremy Ruckert, and Lawrence Cager. There’s a chance they could do the same this year, but there’s also a chance that the Jets may elect to carry an extra wide receiver or offensive lineman, leaving just three spots available.

 

With seven tight ends currently on the roster for camp, at least three are going to be on the outside looking in.

Conklin won’t be going anywhere. The former Viking made up the majority of the Jets’ TE production, accounting for 72.5% of the catches, 70% of the yards, and 60% of the touchdowns. Inexplicably, Conklin only received five red-zone targets all season – one of many reasons Mike LaFleur was let go. Three of those five targets resulted in touchdowns.

 

Uzomah is perhaps the most interesting name in the room. The former Begal’s first season as a Jet was underwhelming. His receiving yardage was less than half his 2021 total, falling from 493 to 232, and his touchdown total fell from five to two.

Obviously, going from Joe Burrow to Zach Wilson and Mike White has to be taken into consideration, but Uzomah is set to earn $6.7 million this year and $11.2 million next season. To warrant those numbers he’ll need to be more productive on the field. We all know what a great teammate he is and what a good leader he is and that obviously can’t be completely discounted.

 

But if some of the other TEs make a statement in the preseason, the Jets could look to trade Uzomah. They can’t do anything until after June 1, but after that date the dead money and cap-saving balance tips in the Jets’ favor. With a post-June 1 trade, the Jets would save $3.5 million this year, $8 million in 2024, and $1.5 million in 2025. The Jets restructured his contract this off-season pushing money into future void years.

In order for that to even be a consideration, other TEs are going to need to step up. That’s where Jeremy Ruckert comes in, a third-round pick of the Jets in 2021.

Last season was a redshirt year for Ruckert considering he received just two targets all year, but year two should be the year he starts to push for playing time. With his athleticism and ability to block on the move, his skillset perfectly suits the zone running scheme and west-coast offense the Jets want to run.

 

If Ruckert can’t step up then you look to the uber-athlete Zack Kuntz, who while extremely raw, has a ceiling as high as any TE in the league.

If not Kuntz, then maybe one of the undrafted free agents make a name for themselves. Middle Tennessee’s Izaiah Gathings is coming off a year where he caught 76.9% of contested catches and had a minuscule 3.2% drop rate, although Georgia Tech’s E.J. Jenkins had a case of the dropsies in college with an 18.8% career rate.

 

Maybe it comes from Kenny Yeboah, but Yeboah has been with the Jets for a few years now and failed to stake a claim.

I’m not saying Uzomah should definitely be traded. I love his personality and teams need that, and I fully expect him to be closer to his 2021 numbers with Aaron Rodgers under center.

But if the Jets envision Conklin dominating the snap share, and they need to create some cap space to sign a certain defensive tackle, trading someone like Uzomah makes sense if you have suitable replacements. They just need to find out if they have suitable replacements. That’s what training camp is for.

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I think you see who Rodgers has chemistry with.  He seems to like vets and I kind of think Uzomah might end up ahead of Conklin.  I don't see Conklin and Uzomah on the roster in 2024, so I agree one might be traded, but I think that is a deadline move if one isn't getting used and one of the young guns is stepping up.  They are both under contract for 2024, so it wouldn't factor in the comp pick formula - which makes them more likely to trade. 

Is it bad that when I read "they need to create some cap space to sign a certain defensive tackle"  my first thought was:  "They already signed Al Woods"?

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1 hour ago, slats said:

Uzomah is probably more valuable to the Jets for his locker room presence than his presence on the field. He was brought in to help change the culture and got more money than Conklin, who quickly passed him on the depth chart. 
 
As this article says, the linchpin is Ruckert. If he’s ready for prime time, the Jets could look to remove Uzomah’s $3.5M from their cap. 

I think you have to take a leap of faith, and trade Uzomah.  After June 1st, we will not know about Kunz or Ruckert, or the new TE we just singed, but we do know about Conklin, and he is our #1 TE.  

You save the $3.5 M this year, and more importantly, $8M next year.  You have the opportunity to really develop these young TE's, and keep a spot open on the 47 man roster that you wouldn't have if your kept Uzomah.

Personally, I don't think you can get more than a 6th round pick for him, and if need be, I would even take a 7th round pick for him, just to get him off the books.  He was underwhelming last season, and we need to move on.

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1 hour ago, bitonti said:

Who would want this guy? He's terrible. Probably runs a 6 second 40 by now

Another amazing jd free agent 

he was the most reliable pass catcher on the team stats-wise last year Matt B He definitely has value. For me the wildcard in all of this is Zack Kuntz, I think we may have a diamond in the rough if he can be plugged in on Special Teams to start and eventually be given a couple of passes from Rodgers just to see...

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7 minutes ago, SoFlaJets said:

he was the most reliable pass catcher on the team stats-wise last year Matt B He definitely has value. For me the wildcard in all of this is Zack Kuntz, I think we may have a diamond in the rough if he can be plugged in on Special Teams to start and eventually be given a couple of passes from Rodgers just to see...

CJ Uzomah has some value, sure. He doesn't drop passes. He blocks. He catches most of his targets. 

but he's not fast—no opposing DC gameplans for CJ Uzomah. Hence the Kuntz pick (which I agree with you- Kuntz could be exciting)

There's no excitement in CJ Uzomah's reps. He really has value as a run blocker at this point. 

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10 minutes ago, SoFlaJets said:

he was the most reliable pass catcher on the team stats-wise last year Matt B He definitely has value. For me the wildcard in all of this is Zack Kuntz, I think we may have a diamond in the rough if he can be plugged in on Special Teams to start and eventually be given a couple of passes from Rodgers just to see...

Paste plain text next time.

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Douglas seems to have his eye on replacing some of the TEs having brought in three new guys this year. Uzomah seems like an easy target to replace as the current #2 but #1 most expensive TE. The problem is he's under contract for a salary well above his production. Who wants that contract for a #2 TE?

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I like CJ and expect more production out of him. He was our best clocking TE last year and bc of that he was kept in most the time to block with the OL looking rough bc of injuries. We have a healthy OL and he can do more of what he’s good at in the RZ at his size and big 3rd down catches. His playoff experience from just a couple years ago can only help as well. If I’m trading anyone… it’d be Conklin. But in reliant I’d trade none. It’s good to have those vets in a key position that needs to block and catch. 

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1 hour ago, slats said:

Uzomah is probably more valuable to the Jets for his locker room presence than his presence on the field. He was brought in to help change the culture and got more money than Conklin, who quickly passed him on the depth chart. 
 
As this article says, the linchpin is Ruckert. If he’s ready for prime time, the Jets could look to remove Uzomah’s $3.5M from their cap. 

Yeah the Easter Bunny is going to change the Jets culture.

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Uzomah is probably more valuable to the Jets for his locker room presence than his presence on the field. He was brought in to help change the culture and got more money than Conklin, who quickly passed him on the depth chart. 
 
As this article says, the linchpin is Ruckert. If he’s ready for prime time, the Jets could look to remove Uzomah’s $3.5M from their cap. 
Seems like a Feenyesque manchild ... Is he as good as he advertises himself ?

Sent from my Pixel 7 using Tapatalk

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I like CJ and expect more production out of him. He was our best clocking TE last year and bc of that he was kept in most the time to block with the OL looking rough bc of injuries. We have a healthy OL and he can do more of what he’s good at in the RZ at his size and big 3rd down catches. His playoff experience from just a couple years ago can only help as well. If I’m trading anyone… it’d be Conklin. But in reliant I’d trade none. It’s good to have those vets in a key position that needs to block and catch. 
Conklin made more splash plays ... Totally based on eye test.

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Yeboah is a jag and Kuntz is a longshot wannabe. Maybe in August when the roster is set, if Ruckert blows up training camp you could trade CJ. But, at best he nets you a 5th or 6th rounder so why let go of solid depth and weaken the position group.

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1 hour ago, Alka said:

I think you have to take a leap of faith, and trade Uzomah.  After June 1st, we will not know about Kunz or Ruckert, or the new TE we just singed, but we do know about Conklin, and he is our #1 TE.  

You save the $3.5 M this year, and more importantly, $8M next year.  You have the opportunity to really develop these young TE's, and keep a spot open on the 47 man roster that you wouldn't have if your kept Uzomah.

Personally, I don't think you can get more than a 6th round pick for him, and if need be, I would even take a 7th round pick for him, just to get him off the books.  He was underwhelming last season, and we need to move on.

He's not getting that $8MM next year, so that comes off 2024 whether he's cut or retained this year.

Their only question to answer is whether or not he's worth $3.5MM this year vs. giving his roster spot to someone else for $1MM. I think they could get something for him tbh, though it'd be a very late pick if they did. His new team would just incur his now-lowered salary. 

He does also play a lot on special teams...though iirc he was one of those who didn't make a play on the Pats' gamewinning punt return. Might've been one of the (two) uncalled penalties on the return team, but either way I think he was in on the not-play. Anyway they're always looking for guys who also play on specials so they don't have to activate a specials-specialist (lol) on gamedays; they already carried a few last year who rarely (if ever) saw the field on offense/defense. 

 

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1 minute ago, HessStation said:

Yes we’re all frothing at the mouth for that 5th round pick 

It seems like we got a real good one this year with the running back we took in the 5th round.  It all comes down to scouting.  The 5th round draft pick is an important pick.

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1 hour ago, #27TheDominator said:

Talking about cutting Uzomah and signing Brandon ******* Marshall smacks of the kind of sh*t that turned the Rex Ryan Jets from gritty overachievers to a bunch of dogs that would lay down at the first opportunity.  Let's relive those golden days!

yea so true Dom, good thing Douglas isn't the kind of GM who negotiates deals on Twitter

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4 hours ago, bitonti said:

Who would want this guy? He's terrible. Probably runs a 6 second 40 by now

Another amazing jd free agent 

Dunce, he was a blocking te coming out of college same as Darnell Washington. CJ

ran faster 4.62 and was a contributing receiver on the Bengals. Kuntz is taller

and faster than both and jumps 9'' higher. He was more productive receiver than

DW and CJ 2021 finished 2nd in the nation in receptions for TEs with 73.

Cuntz was a higher rated recruit than  Pat Freiermuth out of HS.

Penn State had one of the deepest TE rooms in the nation, evidenced

by one of the lesser prospcts Strange going round two.  Kuntz tied for

the lead in  reps @ 225 for TEs

 

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