Here you go, a pre-snow shoveling diversion -- the New York Jets mailbag, with our question of the week:
— Jake Elman (@JakeElman) January 22, 2016
@RichCimini: First of all, let's spell out Jimmy Graham's status with the Seattle Seahawks: He's signed through 2017, with $9 million in compensation for 2016. Despite speculation to the contrary, Graham probably will be back with the Seahawks. In fact, general manager John Schneider said as much Friday in a radio interview. Even if Graham were released, the Jets would have to think twice about it because of the price tag and his injury -- a torn patellar tendon, which can be tricky.
But you raise an interesting topic, Jake, because I think a lot of Jets fans want to know: Will the Jets try to upgrade the position or will they kiss it off because Chan Gailey doesn't utilize the tight end? He certainly didn't utilize the tight ends in 2015. Kellen Davis and Jeff Cumberland combined for only eight receptions, making the Jets only the fourth team since 2000 to record fewer than 10 catches for its tight ends in a season, per ESPN Stats & Info.
I don't think Gailey froze out Davis and Cumberland because he's averse to tight ends. Look, we all know Gailey loves his wide receivers, but he'd feature the tight end on occasion if he had one worth featuring. So, yes, I expect the Jets to be involved in the free-agent market.
General manager Mike Maccagnan, speaking Friday on WFAN radio, said there will be some good tight ends available in free agency. Without revealing any names, he mentioned a specific profile -- older players coming off injuries. Maybe he was referring to Antonio Gates, 35, who dealt with injuries at the start of last season and still finished with 56 catches. Benjamin Watson, 35, and Gary Barnidge, 31, are older players who had big years, but they weren't injured. Dwayne Allen, 26, and Andrew Quarless, 28, missed time due to injuries, but they don't fall into the older category.
Who knows, maybe Maccagnan will set his target on Kellen Winslow, Jr., who announced on Twitter he's attempting a comeback.
Don't forget, the Jets have two tight ends returning from injuries, Jace Amaro and Zach Sudfeld, but they're largely unproven players. So to answer your question, yes, I think the Jets will look to upgrade at tight end; it just won't be Graham and it won't be the top guy on the market. Because of cap considerations, it'll probably be a bargain-type free agent.