Despite free agency coming up and bringing with it a whole host of talents that the New York Jets will be interested in bringing to MetLife Stadium, GM John Idzik is looking closer to home and securing the futures of players already on the Jets roster.
A day after agreeing new contracts with cornerbacks Darrin Walls and Ellis Lankster, Idzik was reportedly in “serious negotiations” with tight end Jeff Cumberland, according to the New York Daily News.
Cumberland has proven to be an asset, despite not being a number one tight end, during his four years as a Jet.
The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder out of Illinois had 26 catches for 398 yards and four touchdowns in 2013, and has 55 grabs, more than 700 yards and seven scores over the past two seasons.
There is a very high chance that the Jets could take a tight end with their first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. With the 18th selection come May time, a lot of insiders and draft specialists have indicated that the franchise could be taking Eric Ebron from NC State in the opening round.
If Ebron were to come in then Cumberland would be the number two tight end on the depth chart, and he would provide a valuable second asset to Geno Smith, who'll be entering his sophomore season.
The Jets are also trying to beat the clock and pen a multi-year deal with right tackle Austin Howard before the start of the signing period on Tuesday.
Howard was signed from the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad in 2011 and started all 16 games last season, quietly emerging as a solid run- and pass-blocker in the process allowing only two sacks all season.
The Jets have been trying to become more balanced on offense, and need to keep all the solid players they can before any overhaul can begin.