Jets need to make tight end a high priority this offseason

Everyone thinks the New York Jets need to get a franchise quarterback.  However, there’s no sense in getting one if there aren’t pieces around him to help him succeed.

The priorities for the New York Jets in the 2017 offseason should be as follows:

1. Offensive line
2. Defensive backs
3. Linebacker depth
4. Pass-catching tight ends

What is important about the fourth one is pass-catching.  The tight ends of the Jets have combined for 26 catches in 2015-16.  That’s not good enough.

When you delve deeper it gets worse.  They were only targeted 53 times in the last two seasons.  That could be one or a combination of two things, either they weren’t going out on routes or they weren’t getting open.

If they weren’t going out on a lot of routes it could be one of two things.  The first is the offensive play calling didn’t feature a lot of tight end routes, so they were primarily used as blockers.  The second is that they just weren’t good enough to do that job.

It would appear to be the latter rather than the former.  When Chan Gailey was the offensive coordinator with teams with quality tight ends (even a Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end at one point), the tight ends combined for 228 catches, 2,278 yards, and 19 touchdowns.

The other four seasons he was an offensive coordinator, the names don’t really stick out and, consequently, neither do their numbers (564 catches, 546 yards, and four touchdowns).

The Jets haven’t had a lot of good pass-catching tight ends in their history.  In fact of the 45 players who primarily played tight end during a season, only two have recorded 50 catches and five or more touchdowns in a single season.  Mickey Shuler and Dustin Keller each did it twice.

In the 57-year history of the Jets, the players who’ve played tight end as their primary position have combined for 2,312 catches, 27,745 yards, and 210 touchdowns.  It’s time for a good tight end to get in the mix with this franchise.

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