Dustin Keller spoke with the press yesterday and indicated he is not entirely pleased contract talks have not progressed further.
"We've tried to approach them, but it really hasn't moved too much," Keller said at his charity bowling event in Manhattan.
Keller, due to make $3 million this season, said his goal this offseason is to secure a new deal. He wants to be a Jet "for a long time." He said the lack of activity is "a little frustrating," but he added that he's still hopeful a deal can be struck by the start of the season. He indicated he has no plans to stage a holdout.
I do not view Keller getting a new contract as a slam dunk. He is a nice player, but it is a bit difficult to see how he really fits into the team's plans going forward. The team is top heavy as far as its contracts go. The team has almost $75 million tied up next year in David Harris, Nick Mangold, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Santonio Holmes, Mark Sanchez, Antonio Cromartie, and Sione Pouha. Darrelle Revis is due a pay day.
Sure, Keller is a nice player, but a team in the Jets' situation really cannot afford to pay a nice player a ton of money with that many big contracts. Jermichael Finley of the Packers is making $7 million per year. Can a team like the Jets really afford to pay Keller something in that range to catch 55-60 balls? And the Packers use Finley's athletic ability to create mismatches on passing plays all the time. The Jets are going to be run heavy. They are going to run to set up the pass. Keller is a liability as a blocker.
Dustin just doesn't take over games like the best tight ends do. Think Rob Gronkowski. Think Antonio Gates and Dallas Clark from a few years ago. Those are guys you pay big money. Keller isn't one of them. It's a sad fact of life in the NFL that you cannot always keep talented players. That might be the case here.