John Idzik is making progress on his to-do list with only a few days to go before the start of free agency. After franchising Nick Folk and re-signing Ellis Lankster and Darrin Walls, the New York Jets agreed to terms with Jeff Cumberland, who was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. The soon to be 27 year old Cumberland agreed to a three year deal, and he will be heading into his fifth year with the team after entering NFL as an unrestricted free agent in 2010.
Cumberland recorded 26 receptions for 398 yards and a team high 4 touchdowns this season while splitting time with Kellen Winslow, who will not be back. This was the second straight season in which Cumberland had decent productivity, and Geno Smith showed confidence in him in the red zone. Cumberland has all the physical tools at 6’4″, 260 lbs with 4.45 speed and good hands. The Jets believe he is still developing and can continue to improve (better quarterback play wouldn’t hurt either).
Despite their faith in Cumberland, the Jets are still expected to make a big move at tight end this offseason. They have repeatedly been linked to Brandon Pettigrew and Jermichael Finley in free agency, and Eric Ebron is very high on their draft board. It will be interesting to see what direction Idzik goes in. If the Jets truly believe Cumberland can be their starter, then they should take the risk on Finley, who has a world of talent if he’s healthy. If not, expect them to make a safer move for Pettigrew, who I think is overrated, or Ebron, who is an excellent prospect.
The re-signing of Cumberland leaves the Jets with a few more players they could want to bring back this offseason, including Calvin Pace, Leger Douzable, Nick Bellore, Garrett McIntyre, and most importantly, Austin Howard. Howard is the only one the Jets definitely want back and he was and is their highest priority before free agency. Howard is becoming a very good right tackle, and the Jets need to get a deal done with him before he hits the open market on Tuesday. So far, so good for Idzik in the re-signing period, but his most important work is yet to come.