In dire need of a tight end for the last several years, the Jacksonville Jaguars are signing former New York Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins to a two year contact.
Can you name the last Jaguars tight end to top 500 receiving yards? Hint: He’s still on the roster.
Marcedes Lewis accomplished the feat in 2012. Since then its been Julius Thomas after his prime days with the Denver Broncos and back to Marcedes Lewis last year. Lewis performed less like a “Mercedes” in 2017 (24 catches for 318 yards in 16 starts) and more like a sputtering 1990 Cadillac. Sure, it had its good days and brings back memories, but at this point, even the Honda Civics are passing you at will.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a bounce-back season with the Jets last year. After going into rehab for alcohol addiction following the 2016 season, Jenkins showed up to camp 25 pounds lighter and in much better shape. He was 13th in the NFL with 50 receptions at tight end. However, with just 357 yards, he had an abysmal 7.1 yards per catch. He had three touchdowns and if you ask any Jets fan, it could easily have been five. He’s also just 25 years old.
$5-$5.5 million per season is a pretty low risk and potential high reward bet on Seferian-Jenkins. On the other hand, the yards-per-catch are a little concerning. In fact, Lewis almost doubled that total, posting 13.3 yards per catch last season. It makes you wonder if the Jaguars even made a call on other free-agent tight ends Trey Burton or Tyler Eifert.
If Jenkins can get back to how he was playing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015 (21 catches for 338 yards and four touchdown in just seven games, three starts), this could ultimately be a steal. Indeed, if the Jaguars had a younger, more athletic tight end during the AFC Championship, perhaps they convert some of those crucial third downs. In that game, the tight ends combined for two catches and eight yards, although Lewis did haul in a touchdown.