Tight end Dustin Keller, a first-round pick in 2008, is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He wants a new one. But he apparently isn’t getting one, yet.
Keller said Saturday that there have been no talks toward a new deal. And he doesn’t know whether there will be.
“I would hope they would,” Keller said Saturday regarding the possibility of signing him before the season starts, via Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. “Look at their history. But that’s their choice. Obviously, it would be good to get a contract.”
The Jets’ history depends on which player we’re talking about. Receiver Santonio Holmes and cornerback Antonio Cromartie had to play out their contracts before getting new ones. Cornerback Darrelle Revis and quarterback Mark Sanchez didn’t. And several other players have complained that they were promised new deals but never got one.
Regardless, Keller prefers not to play out his contract. “If I do, it is what it is and we’ll go from there,” Keller said. “Now the focus is on the season.”
If the Jets and Keller “go from there,” it could include the Jets using the franchise tag on Keller. For now, Cimini says the Jets intend to see how Keller fits (or doesn’t fit) into offensive coordinator Tony Sparano’s offense.
It could be that the Jets simply can’t afford to pay a pass-catching tight end when the emphasis of the attack will be the running game.