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Breaking Down The Jets: The Tight Ends

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Continuing our look at the Jets roster, we move from the receiver position, to the tight end position.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to part four of Breaking Down The Jets.

Previously we have focused in on the:

Quarterbacks

Running Banks

Wide Receivers

Today we look at another position group that should be an improvement in production in 2015, and that's the tight end position. So without further delay, let us jump straight in.

Current Depth Chart

1- Jeff Cumberland

2- Jace Amaro

3- Kellen Davis

4- Steve Maneri

5 - Wes Saxton

Let me start by saying that I fully expect Jace Amaro to be the starting tight end of the New York Jets this year. However he received 380 snaps last year to the 926 snaps that Jeff Cumberland saw, so at the moment I'm putting him at the top of this depth chart. Jeff Cumberland was rated as one of the worst TE's in the league last year, in fact if you go by the PFF rating, he was the worst tight end in the league, period. We keep waiting for Cumberland to put it together and at points, it seems as though it's right around the corner. However 2015 will be his 6th NFL season and he's never had more than 4 touchdowns in a season and he's never had more than 400 yards in a season either. If you combine that with the fact he is a horrible blocker, if Cumberland sees anywhere close to 900 snaps this season, we're doing something wrong.

Jace Amaro had an up and down season, he experienced some injuries and was credited with 6 dropped passes. However 345 yards and 2 touchdowns as a rookie isn't bad and although his pass blocking leaves a lot to be desired, he can move people in the run game. I fully expect those 380 snaps to be doubled this year and he is the prime candidate to make the leap on the offensive side of the ball this season.

I see Jace Amaro and Jeff Cumberland as locks for the roster. Mainly because they don't face much in the way of competition. Kellen Davis will be entering his 8th year in the league and despite a 5 touchdown season in Chicago in 2011, he's not much of a receiving threat at all. In 7 years of NFL play, he's only ever gone over 200 yards twice. However in Chicago he was a very accomplished run blocker and his pass protection was impressive as well. Over the last two years he hasn't seen half as much production with his blocking skills, which leads you to the question, does he still have it?

The Jets picked up Steve Maneri following the season ending injury to Zach Sudfeld in minicamp. Maneri has bounced around the league with the Patriots, Chiefs, Bears, Bucs and Texans but he's never been able to earn consistent playing time. He has 6 career receptions and very little else. There is no reason to believe the 6'7 tight end will make this roster.

Then we have Wes Saxton, an undrafted tight end who is extremely raw. He has all the athletic tools you could hope for, but he failed to put them to good use in college. Will he make the team? It's a long shot because of his college production and the fact he doesn't block well, or at all really. The Jets already have two receiving tight ends in Cumberland and Amaro.

The Salary Situation

Year Jace Amaro Jeff Cumberland Kellen Davis Steve Maneri Wes Saxton
2015 $975,680 $1,900,000 $665,000 $585,000 $435,000
2016 $1,170,816 $1,900,000 $525,000
2017 $1,365,952 $615,000

We're in a very good situation financially with the tight ends. We have very little money tied up and if we wanted to cut Cumberland either this year or next year, we could without having any dead money. Obviously we have Jace signed for three more years on a very team friendly deal.

Kellen Davis and Steve Maneri can be cut without any problems and the same for Wes Saxton who's on a usual undrafted rookie contract.

Possible Storylines

  • Will Jace Amaro be the starter or will the Jets continue to talk about them both being starters in very different roles. If Amaro clearly outplays Cumberland you have to give him the starting job and significantly increase his snaps.
  • Dropsies - Amaro and Cumberland experienced drops last year, how do their hands look and can we look forward to a season of clean catches. We're not good enough to get away with dropping first downs and touchdowns.
  • Will Kellen Davis show himself to be the premier blocking tight end in the group, securing himself the #3 TE spot on the roster?
  • How does Wes Saxton transition to the NFL and does he put all that natural athletic ability to good use? If he can put it together with professional coaching, do we have ourselves a steal?
  • Who is Steve Maneri and what can he offer this team. He's a bit of a mystery to me, like I imagine he is with a lot of you.

Projected Depth Chart

1- Jace Amaro

2 - Jeff Cumberland

3 - Kellen Davis

Cut - Steve Maneri & Wes Saxton

This was a hard decision because I really wanted to go with Wes Saxton at the third spot. However Kellen Davis can at least block a little bit and if he reverts to 2011 Chicago form, he can be an excellent blocker, both Cumberland and Amaro have a long way to go in that regard. With all that considered I decided to put the two receiving tight ends and a blocker on the 53 man roster.

The Future

It completely revolves around Jace Amaro. If he can break out in a big way and fill his potential, then we are set at this position for years to come. When you have an excellent TE playing over 1,000 snaps a season, you can fill in some serviceable guys around them. I don't think Cumberland will be here for much longer unless he seriously improves his game.

The Free Agents

Antonio Gates (35)

Vernon Davis (31)

Marcedes Lewis (31)

Dwayne Allen (25)

Coby Fleener (25)

There are a number of other players set to his free agency but here are the group fo guys most likely to receive the most attention. I think one of Allen or Fleener will hit the market, mainly because the Colts have to think about paying Luck and T.Y Hilton and both Allen and Fllener deserve a little bit of coin. Hopefully we won't have to go after a tight end but in this passing league, having two good receiving tight ends can be a matchup nightmare for most defenses.