4:25pm: The Jets are also “engaged heavily in negotiations” with offensive tackle Austin Howard, reports Brian Costello of the New York Post. The club is hoping to lock up both Howard and Cumberland before the free-agents-to-be are eligible to sign elsewhere.
10:53am: The Jets are currently engaged in “serious negotiations” with tight end Jeff Cumberland, a source tells Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. It’s not clear yet whether the two sides will reach an agreement by Tuesday to keep the prospective free agent off the market.
Cumberland, who went undrafted out of Illinois, has posted similar numbers in his last two seasons with the Jets. In 2013, he totaled 26 receptions for 398 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Given Cumberland’s age (26) and the Jets’ up-and-down quarterback production during his stint with the team, it’s reasonable to assume that his most productive years could be ahead of him.
When I examined 2014’s free agent market for tight ends, I placed Cumberland in the second tier, and since then, the two first-tier options – Jimmy Graham and Dennis Pitta – have been franchised and extended respectively. As such, Cumberland could draw a little extra interest from teams in need of a tight end if he reaches the open market.