NY Jets News: Dustin Keller Deserving of a New Contract?

  on June 20 2012 4:07 PM

The New York Jets drafted Dustin Keller in the 2008 NFL Draft and the then-newest addition to the team was promptly booed by the plethora of Jets fans in the stands while those same Jets fans revered Vernon Gholston.

Keller is not only still on the Jets roster, but is one of Mark Sanchez's favorite targets, while Gholston is on the path to early retirement.

Keller seems to be Sanchez's safety blanket and often serves as the main target on key downs. When Keller's number is called he almost never drops a pass.

His speed is above average, especially with his size (6'2, 250 pounds), he provides an easy target for Sanchez.  Also, Keller's stats have considerably increased over the years. 

For the 2008 and 2009 season he posted similar stats with 535 receiving yards and three touchdowns receptions, and 522 yards with two touchdowns, respectively. In the 2010 season, Keller accrued 687 receiving yards and caught five touchdown passes. Last season, he posted 815 receiving yards and five touchdown receptions

He has become more than a reliable target for Sanchez -- he's a Top 10 Fantasy tight end. The same player who was booed by Jets fans is a key component of the offense.

However, there are two main problems with Keller. He is not a quality blocking tight end, and his production might slip under new run-oriented offense coordinator Tony Sparano. Some have suggested that Keller has bouts of inconsistency, as well.

The Jets may not have enough cap space to re-sign him this year, but he is too valuable a player to lose. 

Expect New York to retain Keller on a possible five-year deal worth about $5 million a year.