The Jets had a long search for a blocking tight end a year ago. They went through many players in camp and the preseason. Between the last preseason game against Philadelphia and the regular season opener at Houston, Atlanta released Ben Hartsock to a 1 year, $1.2 million deal.
Hartsock added next to nothing as a receiver. He only had a single reception, a 2 yard touchdown grab from Mark Sanchez against the Titans in Week 3. It's the only touchdown grab of his career. In his 6 year career, Hartsock's career high was 12 catches in 2007. That would be the only year he caught more than 6 balls. It wasn't just a case of the Jets scaling back the playbook for a rookie quarterback. Hartsock fits the third tackle mold as a tight end. He didn't see much time when the Jets threw it.
He did provide very good in line run blocking. Ben was a part of the jumbo packages that helped the Jets lead the league in rushing yards. Given how little Dustin Keller offers as a blocker, Hartsock ended up being pretty valuable.
Even though Ben did his job well, I'm inclined to hope the Jets let him walk. Blocking tight ends are easy to find for cheap. If Gang Green lets Hartsock walk, the team can sign an unrestricted free agent from another team to replace him. That's valuable for a final eight team this year. Perhaps the team can replace him with a guy like Anthony Fasano, who is an even better blocker and adds more in the passing game. Perhpas the team can fill another hole. Either way, I think the Jets can replace Hartsock adequately without a ton of trouble.
I vote go.
How do you vote?