The New York Jets are staring a 1-2 record in the face to start the 2016 NFL season and are fresh off a 24-3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, which featured quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick tossing six interceptions. To say it’s been a rough weekend for the Jets and their fans would be a massive understatement. Fortunately, there’s help on the way, and it’s coming in the form of ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, the Jets have chosen to claim Seferian-Jenkins off waivers on Monday afternoon.
While some may look at this move as irrelevant, there’s much more to it than you’ll realize on the surface. Yes, Seferian-Jenkins has now been arrested twice in the past three years for DUI, and he’s probably going to be facing some type of a suspension from the NFL. With that said, when he returns (hopefully with his head on right), he could wind up being a key part of the Jets offense, which is a unit that has desperately been looking for a playmaking tight end who can change the game for them.
Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are great options in the passing game for Fitzpatrick, while Matt Forte has proven capable of handling the work in the run game. To go along with that, names like Quincy Enunwa and Jalin Marshall have also stepped up as pass-catchers. The tight end position? That’s been non-existent in the passing game.
Even when looking back at previous seasons, tight end has been a major area of concern for the Jets. In 2015, it was Jeff Cumberland leading the way with just five catches for 77 yards all season long. The year before that, Jace Amaro caught a respectable (but not great) 38 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns, while Cumberland totaled 23 catches for 247 yards and three touchdowns. So, how about if the Jets just try to take that production and piece it into one player?
They’re hoping that’s what they’ve found with Seferian-Jenkins on the waiver wire.
The biggest knock on Seferian-Jenkins over his young three-year career has been his injury history. The newest Jets target in the passing game played in just 16 games over his first two years, missing an entire season’s worth of action due to various injuries. Potential and playmaking ability was never an issue, though, as he caught 21 passes in both seasons. His final stat line through 18 games (or two seasons and two games) featured 45 receptions for 603 yards and seven touchdowns.
While he’s a tight end who has the ability to stretch the field, the best part of his game may be the fact that he’s going to be an immediate impact in the red zone for the Jets. Fitzpatrick obviously struggled mightily in the red zone in Week 3, so adding another weapon with Marshall, Decker, Forte and Enunwa will be great news. Especially a playmaker who stands 6-foot-5 and 262 pounds as well.
Are the Jets and Seferian-Jenkins a match made in heaven? They very well just may be, but we might have to wait a few games to find that out.