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Jets TEs in 2021: What's Next for Chris Herndon in a New Offense?

George Kittle, Jonnu Smith, Robert Tonyan Are Examples of Prolific TEs in Shanahan Scheme

Table inside Article
Player GP-GS-DNP-IA Off/ST Snaps
Chris Herndon 16-13-0-0 675-115
Ryan Griffin 15-6-0-0 391-208
Trevon Wesco 12-4-0-0 146-62
Dan Brown 16-1-0-0 28-331
Ross Travis 1-0-0-6 3-7

Finished on Practice Squad: Connor Davis, Bronson Kaufusi

Reserve/Future Signing: Davis

Potential Unrestricted FAs in 2021: Brown, Travis

'21: A New Deal
The Jets may enter the 2021 season with a similar tight-ends room to the last two seasons. Chris Herndon, who closed the 2020 season strong, Ryan Griffin and Trevon Wesco are all under contract. General Manager Joe Douglas could add to the room through free agency and/or the draft with the Jets projected to have the third-most cap space in the NFL. They currently have six picks in the top-100 selections.

While we don't know exactly what offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur's offense will look like, it's possible tight ends will have a big role. 49ers' TE George Kittle has been a staple in San Francisco Head Coach Kyle Shanahan's offense where LaFleur served as the passing-game coordinator for four seasons. There are few tight ends as talented as Kittle, but there are other examples throughout the NFL where tight ends in Shanahan-type schemes have big roles in the offense, such as the Titans' Jonnu Smith and the Packers' Robert Tonyan. LaFleur will add his own wrinkles, but it's feasible LaFleur and TEs coach Ron Middleton will want to take advantage of Herndon's athleticism.

As a rookie in 2018, Herndon took 175 of his 625 snaps in the slot, according to Pro Football Focus. He had 39 catches, 502 yards and 4 TDs, which all ranked No. 2 on the team. In the 2020 season, he took 86 of his 675 snaps in the slot and was asked to block more.

'20: Quick Look Back
The tight ends were mostly responsible for blocking as Herndon, Griffin and Wesco combined for 41 catches, 378 yards and 3 TD (all the TDs were Herndon's). Herndon also had 31 catches for 287 yards. In the final three games of the season, he had 14 receptions, 145 yards and 2 TDs.

Griffin is a proven, reliable option in the pass although he's averaged 34.3 targets over his eight seasons in the NFL. He had a career-high 5 TDs in the 2019 season, his first with the Jets, to go with 34 catches for 320 yards. He's been praised by coaches and teammates for his approach and has been referred to as "a true pro" numerous times.

Wesco, who has served primarily as a blocker in his two-year career, showed development as a receiver in training camp despite 1 catch in the 2020 season. He missed four games with an ankle injury and acted as the team's de facto fullback, taking 45 snaps in the backfield, which was the most on the team.

Brown primarily was a special-teams stalwart for the Jets, taking the 335 snaps, which was the most on the Green & White. His 5 tackles were tied for third on the team.

TE Trivia
Chris Herndon had 14 receptions combined over the Jets' last 3 games, at the Rams, vs. the Browns and at the Patriots, equaling his most catches in a 3-game span in his pro career, from Games 9-11 in his rookie season of 2018.

See the Top Photos of Chris Herndon and the Jets Tight Ends in 2020

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