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With their top two tight ends set to enter free agency (joining what was an average group to begin with), the Jets will spend plenty of time in the tight end market this year. Starters and backups are needed.
Dennis Pitta: The Baltimore Ravens will do everything they can to retain their homegrown talent, but if Pitta hits the open market, the Jets should swarm to sign him. Pitta has emerged as one of the best pass-catching players at his position and would be a huge upgrade over anything the Jets had on the roster last year.
However, if he does hit the open market, Pitta won't be cheap. He will likely be the most sought-after tight end on the open market (unless the New Orleans Saints let Jimmy Graham hit the open market) and would put quite a dent in the Jets' cap space.
Brandon Pettigrew: Pettigrew may make the most sense for the Jets for a few reasons. For one, he is a "two-way" tight end who can block and be effective as a receiver. Pettigrew has had an up-and-down career in Detroit, but he is at least adequate in both areas.
Because of his disappointing 416-yard season, Pettigrew's value is as low as ever. Signing Pettigrew will leave more room to bolster the rest of the roster while upgrading the tight end position.
Fred Davis: Davis has fallen out of favor with the Washington Redskins after losing his job to rookie Jordan Reed and dealing with a slew of injuries, but Davis carries with him a lot of untapped talent. Ideally, Davis would be a low-risk, high-reward signing that could pay dividends for the Jets—as long as they have a backup plan.
Ben Hartsock: The Jets also have a desperate need for a blocking tight end, where Hartsock, who was with the Jets in 2009 and 2010, would fit in perfectly. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Hartsock was the best blocking tight end in football (by a significant margin).
The Jets would be swallowing a bit of pride by bringing back Hartsock, but his presence in the run game would make a huge difference.