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New York Jets Should Tag-and-Trade Tight End Dustin Keller for the Best Possible Return

Dustin Keller New York Jets Tight End

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

What should the New York Jets do with tight end Dustin Keller?

Keller has been the Jets’ starting tight end since the Jets traded up to draft him in 2008, but the 28-year-old is coming off the worst year of his career, an injury-plagued 2012 season that saw him only suit up for eight games.

While most players look to be their best in their contract year, Keller’s 2012 was the opposite. He caught a career-low 28 passes for a career-worst 317 receiving yards in the eight games in which he was on the field.

Keller indicated that he would like a long-term deal and does not want the Jets to use the franchise tag on him, which I think is a pretty bold statement for a guy who’s never been a top-tier tight end. Not even close.

I’ve been calling for the Jets to get rid of Keller for some time now, and I’ll be honest, as soon as he’s officially a member of another NFL team, I’m going to jump for joy. I can’t wait until he’s officially an ex-Jet.

But rather than simply letting him walk away, as the Jets may do with one of their starting guards this off-season, I think the wise move would be to tag Keller with the franchise tag with the intention of trading him.

A tag-and-trade would be the best move for all parties. Another team who thinks they can make something of Keller would give him the long-term deal he wants, and the Jets would be able to recoup some compensation.

Any compensation at all would be great. I’d gladly take even a fifth- or sixth- round pick for Keller. If the Jets can finagle a fourth-rounder or better, well, I’d probably do cartwheels.

Keller is a horrendous blocker, and is probably better suited playing more of a wide receiver role, even if he lacks wide receiver speed. Let some other team try to figure out how to best use him.

I’m not sure what the market rate is for a bad blocking tight end with below average speed and no ability to get yards after the catch, but I guess Keller will find out soon enough. Goodbye and good riddance.

Jon Presser is’s New York Jets Lead Columnist 
Follow him on Twitter @metsjetsnets88
Contact him at

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