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Jets offseason preview: Tight ends

With the NFL scouting combine (Feb. 17-23) and free agency (March 10) approaching, we take a position-by-position look at the New York Jets as they head into the offseason:

Position: Tight end

2014 snaps:

Key stat: No rookie tight end made a tremendous impact in 2014, but Amaro led the group with 38 receptions, 13 ahead of the Detroit Lions' Eric Ebron.

Pending free agents: None

2015 salary-cap hits (position rank)

  • Cumberland: $1.9 million (No. 26)

  • Amaro: $975,681 (No. 42)

  • Sudfeld: $585,000

  • Chris Pantale: $585,000

Money matters: Well, you can't accuse the Jets of overspending at this position. They have no big money invested here. The only noteworthy money matter is that Amaro's 2015 base salary ($615,136) is guaranteed -- a drop in the salary-cap bucket. Cumberland's entire cap charge is in the form of base salary.

Big picture: The Jets have to figure out a way to get more production out of their tight ends. They combined for only 677 receiving yards, 21st in the league. The hope is that Amaro will take a big leap in his second season. If they play a spread offense under new coordinator Chan Gailey, it should help Amaro because he played in a spread-style system at Texas Tech. He can start by working on his concentration. Amaro had six drops in only 52 targets, the highest drop percentage of any tight end with at least 10 catches. Unless he struggles with the new system, Amaro should overtake Cumberland and become the primary tight end. Part of that could depend upon the blocking demands of the position; Amaro still is developing as a point-of-attack blocker. Cumberland's production (23 catches) fell short of his every-down playing status -- an ominous sign for some players -- but it would be a surprise if he gets cut because his $1.9 million cap charge isn't outrageous. Sudfeld could be poised for a bigger role, especially as a receiver. They don't have a true blocking tight end, although that role is becoming a dinosaur across the league.

Free-agent market watch: Pending free agents include Jordan Cameron, Charles Clay, Jermaine Gresham, Jacob Tamme and Julius Thomas.