It’s no secret the Jets have gotten little production out of the tight end spot in recent years.
In fact, the tight end room in Florham Park has been dismal for the better part of the last decade.
Since former Jets tight end Dustin Keller finished with 815 receiving yards in 2011, only one TE has finished with more than 400 yards in a season (Chris Herndon with 502 in 2018).
In 2021, the combination of Tyler Kroft, Ryan Griffin, Dan Brown and Kenny Yeboah produced just 499 yards combined.
So, free-agent signings Tyler Conklin and CJ Uzomah should resuscitate the unit. They combined last season for 110 catches, 1,086 yards and eight touchdowns.
And Uzomah expects the duo to wreak havoc across the league.
“We got this tandem in the tight end room right now that’s about to be dirty,” Uzomah said Friday. “I’m excited that we get to play with one another and we’re going to complement each other. I think on the field, we’re going to be a force.”
Conklin feels the ceiling on this newly acquired duo is endless.
“Unlimited. I think that me and CJ can be one of the best, if not the best, tight end duo. I think we both are really talented,” Conklin said. “Both can do a little bit of everything. He had a really good year last year. I had a great year last year. … I just think that we’re going to do a lot of damage.”
Conklin, 26, agreed to a 3-year, $21 million deal with Gang Green after four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. Uzomah, 29, gets a 3-year deal valued at $24 million after seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Their arrival should restore Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s desire to use 12 personnel (two tight end sets).
The lack of production from the Jets’ tight end position was a major issue for 12 personnel last season. They struggled to consistently execute their blocking assignments and weren’t much of a threat in the pass game. Some of their lack of passing production does come back to playing with a rookie QB, but they didn’t make it easier for Wilson.
In 12 personnel, Wilson completed just 52% of his passes for 339 yards with one touchdown, five interceptions and a passer rating of 40.3.
It’s also a formation that calls for an effective run game so a team can play-action off to it to keep defenses off balance. But their rushing attack out of the grouping was abysmal. The Jets averaged 3.93 yards rushing per play, sixth worst in the NFL. It provides some clarity as to why Wilson completed 50% of his passes off play action in 12 personnel with four interceptions.
After injuries to Griffin and Kroft, and combined with a general lack of production from the position, the Jets used the two-tight end set just 11% of the time (eighth fewest in the NFL) starting in Week 9.
But with Conklin and Uzomah in the mix, the heavy usage of 12 personnel should return.
“I think me and CJ are going to turn around the whole tight end not being productive thing,” Conklin said. “Like he said, it’s going to be dirty. We’re going to go produce at a high level.”
Welcome back two tight end sets as Conklin and Uzomah attempt to breathe life into the Jets’ tight end room for 2022.