Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano has an effective pass-catching tight end in Dustin Keller, but there are some questions about the club's No. 2 tight end. Considering that the Jets reportedly placed a claim in on ex-Colts TE Brody Eldridge, who signed with the Rams last month, it’s certainly on their radar. The Jets apparently are still searching for that prototypical big, blocking tight end to help in Sparano’s offense, and Eldridge fits the mold at 6-5, 265 pounds.
Last season, now-Rams TE Matthew Mulligan was the team’s blocking tight end. But the 6-4, 265-pounder was second on the team with nine penalties. In 2009, when he was Miami's head coach, Sparano had the 6-8, 270-pound Joey Haynos complementing Anthony Fasano.
The Jets do have some options at the position on their current roster to evaluate this summer. Last year, we heard Jeff Cumberland could be an X-factor at the position, but more from a pass-catching standpoint. His 2011 season was cut short due to an Achilles injury, and Cumberland needs to prove better as a blocker, though the 6-4, 260-pound tight end has the size. One option is FB/TE Josh Baker, who we hear the team likes out of the H-back position. GM Mike Tannenbaum said in January that Baker “has a chance to be a real good contributor for us.”
Of the three rookies tight end on the roster heading into minicamp, another player to watch will be Hayden Smith, the 6-6, 255-pound former rugby player. It’s also a distinct possibility the team adds a veteran late in the summer to fill the role.