Dustin Keller: Stay or Go?

Jim McIsaac

This was not the contract year Dustin Keller envisioned. Coming off a career best year, injuries hampered Dustin from preseason. He only played in 8 games and put up career lows in catches, yards, and touchdowns.

Even before the injuries, it is difficult to say that Keller's time with the Jets was anything but a disappointment. This team traded up to get him in the first round in 2008. Yet in this era of pass catching tight ends, Dustin has never put up more than 815 yards, and that came in a year where a lack of good weapons made Mark Sanchez force feed him the ball. Keller was never a great red zone target. His career high in touchdowns is 5. He might be the worst blocker at his position in the league. He frequently loses focus and fails to extend himself to grab balls he can and should catch.

Keller is, however, an adequate quality receiving target. I think he is faster and more athletic than the average tight end. In an ideal world, he would play in a pass happy spread offense like Green Bay. The Jets have used him as a tight end, but he's really better suited to a role where he moves around from the backfield to split wide to tight end to take advantage of his size and speed and create mismatches. The Jets appeared headed to an offense like that.

I don't think Keller would be any great loss aside from the fact he is an NFL caliber receiving target on a team in need of more. I think there is a scenario where it would make sense to bring him back to the Jets. If he wants to raise his stock after this bad year, maybe he will take a LaRon Landry type one year prove it contract to improve his value. Given the new scheme fit, that might be worth exploring. The Jets need to look to buy low. I would not, however, give Keller a multi-year deal. He isn't good enough for that.

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