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Ben Hartsock: Stay or Go? Part 1: Introduction

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Ben Hartsock was the starting tight end on Ohio State's 2002 National Championship team. He went in the third round of the 2004 NFL Draft to the Colts but struggled to get off the bench with Indianapolis' focus on the passing game and the presence of quality pass catching tight ends Dallas Clark and Marcus Pollard ahead of his on the depth chart. After two seasons in Indianapolis, he moved on to play two years with the Titans and one year with the Falcons. He emerged as a decent blocking tight end.

At the end of the 2009 preseason, Atlanta released Hartsock. He signed with the Jets on a 1 year, $1.2 million deal. It ended an offseason of blocking tight end roulette for New York. The Jets had a revolving door of potential in line blockers who they kept releasing and replacing over the course of that offseason. After that 2009 campaign, he signed a 2 year, $3.2 million contract.

Considering how many free agents the Jets have, the team might look for ways to free up money. According to, releasing Hartsock will free up $1.6 million in cap space. That makes him a potential cap casualty as is any reserve who could save that kind of cap space.