Jets' $24M Starter on IR, Career in NY Likely Over

Jets face tough decisions as Uzomah's status wavers.

by Nouman Rasool
Jets' $24M Starter on IR, Career in NY Likely Over
© Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The New York Jets' decision to place veteran tight end CJ Uzomah on injured reserve this Wednesday marks a significant shift in their roster dynamics, casting a shadow over Uzomah's future with the team. With the Jets navigating through a challenging season, this move, coming just as the season approaches its climax, could signal the end of Uzomah's tenure in New York, a development that has stirred considerable discussion among fans and analysts alike.

Uzomah, who is 30 years old, faces a mandatory absence from at least the next four games, a substantial period given that only five games remain in the season. This requirement, necessitated by his placement on injured reserve, effectively sidelines him for the majority of the season's remainder, sparking speculation about the conclusion of his 2023 season and, potentially, his career with the Jets.

The situation is further complicated by financial considerations linked to Uzomah's contract and the Jets' salary cap strategy. Uzomah's Uncertain Future The Jet Press, a notable source for Jets-related news, recently suggested on social media that Uzomah's time with the team might be drawing to a close.

This viewpoint gains credence when considering the team's financial obligations. Before the 2023 season, the Jets restructured Uzomah's contract to alleviate immediate salary cap pressures. However, this restructuring effectively deferred financial commitments to future seasons, creating a potential burden for the team.

Should the Jets opt to release Uzomah in the offseason, they would incur a significant dead cap hit of $5.9 million. Additionally, there's a built-in dead cap hit of $2.7 million for 2025, tied to the void years of his contract.

These financial implications, coupled with Uzomah's performance, add layers of complexity to the decision-making process regarding his future with the team. Uzomah, who inked a three-year, $24 million deal with the Jets in the 2022 offseason, has had a rather unremarkable tenure with the team.

His production with the Jets mirrors his seven-year stint with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he averaged modest receiving statistics. Despite being the 16th highest-paid tight end in the league, as reported by Over The Cap, Uzomah's contributions to the Jets have not matched the heightened expectations his salary might warrant.

This season, his involvement in the Jets' offensive plays diminished significantly, participating in only 32% of the snaps, a sharp decline from the 53% involvement in 2022. This reduced role reflects both the team's evolving strategy and Uzomah's own struggles to make a significant impact on the field.

In a consequential roster move, the Jets have activated tight end Kenny Yeboah from injured reserve, a decision that could reshape the team's tight end dynamics. Yeboah, a 25-year-old undrafted free agent from Ole Miss, possesses impressive physical attributes and has shown potential in preseason games.

His activation offers him a valuable opportunity to establish himself in the team, especially in the context of Uzomah's absence. As the season progresses, the Jets' tight end situation remains a focal point of interest. Uzomah's future with the team hangs in the balance, a scenario intertwined with financial implications and performance evaluations.

Meanwhile, Yeboah's emergence presents a new dynamic, potentially signaling a shift towards a younger, evolving roster as the team looks to build a competitive future.