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New York Jets 2023 Off-Season Preview: Tight End

Jets Tight End

As the New York Jets gear up for the 2023 off-season, it is time to preview where each position stands. Whether there is talent already under contract, or New York acquires players through free agency and the draft, General Manager Joe Douglas looks to build a contender out of the franchise. That being said, let’s take a look at the Jets tight end preview for the 2023 offseason.

New York Jets 2023 Off-Season Previews: Quarterback, Running Back, Wide Receiver

New York Jets 2023 Off-Season Preview: Tight End

Jets Under Contract for 2023

Right off the bat – the Jets do not necessarily need to touch the tight end position this off-season. Their top receiving threat at the position in a decade, Tyler Conklin, is with the Jets through 2024. The same goes for their top-blocking tight end, C.J. Uzomah. As for the future of the position, that lies with 2022 third-round pick Jeremy Ruckert, who spent his rookie year studying under Conklin and Uzomah. Meanwhile, the Jets retain insurance in Kenny Yeboah, who is not a restricted free agent until next season. In other words, from a great one-two tandem to plenty of depth, the Jets are set at tight end.

That is unless Joe Douglas opts to clear cap space. If so, Uzomah may find himself either being asked to restructure his contract or being trade bait. The 30-year-old being cut would lead to a higher dead cap than cap space, as the Jets could save $8 million with his release next year. Or the Jets may look to increase Ruckert’s playtime by trading Uzomah for a late-round pick.

At the same time, it makes too much sense to not run it back with the current position makeup in 2023. Conklin’s 58 receptions and 552 receiving yards were both second on the team. Injuries along the offensive line led to Uzomah seeing limited receiving opportunities, but at his size, a second year with the team offers a lot of upsides. Ruckert remains raw, and should slowly be integrated into the passing game rather than rushed. Though, if Douglas chooses to make changes, here are some names to watch…

2023 NFL Free Agency Tight End Options

If the Jets somehow move Uzomah, they would need a new primary blocker at tight end. Signing another veteran to further mentor Ruckert would be ideal. Maxx Williams or Marcedes Lewis are players to watch. Williams will be 29 years old this season and has been a quality blocker his entire career. Whereas Lewis played under Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett for years in Green Bay. While he will be 39 years old in 2023, Lewis is a valuable piece to add to a team with playoff aspirations.

Trade Market Options at Tight End

Should the Jets look to trade C.J. Uzomah, they would need to bite the bullet on the possible return. Uzomah was a good tight end in 2024, though played the fewest snaps (in a fully healthy season) since 2017. With a cap hit of over $10 million and a potential $11.6 million dead cap, the best the Jets are looking at in return is a mid-day-three selection. Meaning, a fifth or sixth-round pick, which in reality, is not worth what Uzomah can bring to the team in 2023.

2023 NFL Draft Tight End Options

If Douglas wants to scour the draft for another tight end, this is a good year to do so. With tight end not being a tier one, two, or arguably even three need for the team, it is hard to imagine the Jets drafting Michael Mayer (Notre Dame), Dalton Kincaid (Utah), Darnell Washington (Georgia), or any of the day one-through-two prospects. Should the Jets select a tight end, it will be in the later rounds. Players such as Zack Kuntz (Old Dominion), Payne Durham (Purdue), Will Mallory (Miami FL), or Brayden Willis (Oklahoma) are more within New York’s sights.

Jets Tight End Roster Construction Prediction

Come training camp, it is hard to imagine the four Jets tight ends from 2022 not being the main construct of the corps for 2023. Conklin-Uzomah will continue to be the primary tandem, with Ruckert earning a higher snap count as the season goes on. Yeboah deserves playtime entering his third season and has shown potential in the past. Nevertheless, whether or not the Jets sign or draft another tight end, at full strength, this is a position with depth that Gang Green does not need to stress over this off-season.


Main Photo: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports


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