Background: Joe Douglas and the Jets locked up their number one Tight End Ryan “Sticky Hands” Griffin to a 3 year 10.8 million dollar contract. Griffin has been a standout amongst the fairly average Jets offense. Griffin put up over 100 yards against the Redskins in week 11 and looks to be developing a strong connection and trust with QB Sam Darnold.
This is a smart move by Joe Douglas and the Jets brass. Nothing earth-shattering but nothing to sneeze at. Griffin was primed for free agency this offseason after being signed shortly before training camp by Joe Douglas and the Jets. Griffin has been a consistent part of the Jets’ success this year and has started every game for Gang Green.
The 29 year old has disproved the “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” stigma. Griffin has already doubled his career high in touchdowns with four so far (and six games left to play). His previous career high was two while with Houston in 2015 and 2016. Griffin is also on track for about 50 receptions and 430 yards on the season; that would be about equal with his best career year in Houston (50 receptions 442 yards). And it should be noted that the averages/ predictions have been brought down greatly by the quarterbacking of Luke Falk for 2 weeks. These stats could be a lot better with no fault to be put on Ryan Griffin. He simply didn’t have a fair chance with a very bad QB.
If all goes well for the Jets… Ryan Griffin and Chris Herndon look to be a very formidable duo at the Tight End position. Griffin nor Herndon are phenomenal blockers but both are defensive nightmares in coverage. The Jets were very high on second-year standout Chris Herndon but a lengthy suspension and a hamstring injury put a damper on that for this season.
A true dependable Tight End is something the Jets offense has lacked since the days of Dustin Keller circa 2010-2011. The Jets got a glimpse of what could be with Herndon in 2018 and now Griffin in 2019. Mix in the weapons of Leveon Bell, Jamison Crowder, and Robby Anderson… it seems that Adam Gase and Sam Darnold would have little excuses not to perform very well next season (given that the offensive line improves, there’s literally no way that it can statistically get worse).
I believe this will be a domino effect of extensions to come for the Jets before the offseason starts. Despite the public’s opinion and the ugly record… the Jets have some talented players who will be sought after in free agency. If the Jets were smart they’d start working out all the kinks now before other and more attractive offers prevail. I’d expect extensions for Jordan Jenkins, Brian Poole, and potentially Alex Lewis. Jenkins and Poole have proven to be good and reliable NFL starters who deserve their money, and Alex Lewis is a toss-up. I could see Joe Douglas wanting to retain the player he traded a draft pick for (a low-end draft pick) but Lewis’s play has been average at best.
Overall: Nothing amazing was done but nowadays you have to take anything positive you can get. Extending Ryan Griffin is a smart move for the near future and the Jets should be considering the same for their other soon to be free agents of value.