Jeff Cumberland was a free agent a year ago. The Jets brought him back on a three year contract that pays his $1.9 million per year. Even though the Jets took Jace Amaro in the second round, Cumberland remained the primary tight end. Tight end is not position that lends itself to an easy transition so the Jets opted to bring Amaro along slowly.
Cumberland's job was to hold the fort and provide a bridge until Amaro could potentially take a bigger role. He did not provide much of a bridge. He caught only 23 balls for 247 yards and 3 touchdowns. Cumberland's effect on the offense was marginal as a receiver, but it was detrimental as a blocker. As a pass blocker, there was not a tight end responsible for more pressures than Cumberland according to PFF. While I don't have any numbers to discuss Cumberland as a run blocker, the story is not much better there. He is a guy who struggles with finding his assignment , gaining leverage, and using good technique quite a bit.
He has the tools to be a weapon in the passing game. He's very big and very athletic. He just doesn't use his tools well. If you get him isolated on a linebacker on a vertical route, he can win that matchup. He doesn't read coverages well. He struggles to understand how deep to take his routes. He also doesn't use his size well to win contested balls in the air.
In many ways Jeff Cumberland is a success story. Few undrafted free agents make even the small impact he has made in the NFL. I don't think there has been the steady improvement we need to see, though. Five years in, I'm not sure we can expect Cumberland to become more than he is. That would be a one-dimensional receiving tight end who had 4 catches once. The lack of quality targets over the last three seasons has provided Cumberland a big opportunity to break out. He has not done so. The Jets get the full $1.9 million in cap space if they release Cumberland. I think this might be the way to go.