TE Dustin Keller wants to stay with New York Jets
However, the impeding free agent Dustin Keller still doesn’t know what expect from the open market.
“I kind of view free agency like the draft, at this point I don’t know where anyone stands, including the Jets, but everything will take care of itself,” said Dustin Keller. “I’m not stressing myself out about where I’m going to be, I’m just going to continue to work my butt off this offseason so I’m ready no matter where I’m going to be.”
Dustin Keller has based his strong relationship with teammates, such as quarterback Mark Sanchez, and being selected in the first round of the 2008 draft out of Purdue by the New York Jets as his reasons to stay with the team.
“Yeah, I’d like to return. I have a lot of great friends on the team, and I’ve always thought of myself as a key piece of the offense there, but if I’m not there that’s fine, too,” said Dustin Keller. “There are no hard feelings. I understand it’s a business for the Jets, but at this point it’s a business decision for me as well.”
The 28-year-old Dustin Keller’s agent has been in talks with the New York Jets during the NFL combine. However, the New York Jets brass has been noncommittal towards spending nearly $6 million cap space by franchise tagging Dustin Keller in the midst of a dire salary cap situation. Although New York Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is thrilled with the prospect of having Dustin Keller on the offensive unit in 2013.
“I have talked to Coach Mornhinweg and he made clear to me that he would like to have me back, but the guys upstairs may have different thoughts than the coaches,” said Dustin Keller.
Dustin Keller was hoping to get a long-term extension before last season, when the New York Jets extended contracts of several veterans. But former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannebaum declined to exercise that option. Now Dustin Keller believes he has the “right to see what else is out there” in free agency as one of the top three impeding tight ends on the open market.
However, Dustin Keller’s free agency stock could fall due to missing time last season with a hamstring and ankle injuries. Dustin Keller played only eight games finishing with 28 catches and two touchdowns. But the five-year veteran claims he’s back to 100 percent.
“The thing I want teams to realize is that I played my first four years in the NFL without missing a single practice, let alone a game. I’m not some injury-prone player that teams have to worry about,” said Dustin Keller. “Both of my injuries were non-contact injuries, so they were just fluke incidents…my injuries were minor.”