NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Before general manager John Idzik attempts to re-work the Jets through free agency he’s attempting to lure back a few of his own players.
A day after agreeing to terms with cornerbacks Darrin Walls and Ellis Lankster, Idzik was reportedly in “serious negotiations” with tight end Jeff Cumberland, the Daily News reported Friday.
While likely not the starting tight end the Jets covet, Cumberland has proven to be an asset in certain situations. 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.
Speculation is the Jets could target any one of several talented tight ends in the draft and pair him with Cumberland and to a lesser degree Zach Sudfeld, giving second-year quarterback Geno Smith multiple pass-catching options at the position.
The Jets are also trying to beat the clock and get a multi-year agreement with right tackle Austin Howard in place prior to Tuesday’s start of the free agency signing period.
Howard, 27, has come a long way in a short time, developing into a fierce run-blocker while improving as a pass protector in just two seasons with the Jets. He has started every game in that span and allowed just two sacks last season.
Howard’s partner on the right side of the Jets’ line, guard Willie Colon, is also a pending free agent.
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