Home Sports Ryan Griffin went from Jets’ flyer to important Sam Darnold connection

Ryan Griffin went from Jets’ flyer to important Sam Darnold connection

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As the Jets get close to training camp, I am examining the roster and giving you my top 25 players. Each weekday, we will reveal another person on the list, leading right into camp. I am not including rookies on this list because I do not feel it is possible to fully evaluate them before they play a game.

No. 11: Ryan Griffin

Last year’s ranking: Unranked (not on team)

Position: TE

Age on Opening Day: 30

How acquired: Signed to a one-year contract on July 22, 2019 as an unrestricted free agent.

Years left on contract: 3

2020 Salary Cap figure: $3.1 million

Looking back at 2019

Griffin was a surprise for the Jets in 2019. He signed just before training camp began last year (why he was not on our countdown last year). The signing felt like an afterthought. He had been cut by the Texans after an arrest in April. The Jets took a flyer on him and it panned out.

The Jets signed Griffin knowing they would be without starting tight end Chris Herndon for the first four games due to a suspension. They did not know Herndon would miss all but one game in the season and Griffin would end up playing a huge role.

ryan griffin jets top 25 sam darnold chemistry offense
Ryan Griffin and Sam DarnoldPaul J. Bereswill

Griffin started 13 games. He caught 34 passes on 41 targets for 320 yards and a career-high five touchdowns. Griffin played 65 percent of the offensive snaps. He really came on in the middle of the season when he and quarterback Sam Darnold developed some chemistry. He had three games with five catches or more.

An ankle injury that required surgery ended his 2019 season in December.

PFF graded Griffin as the 36th best tight end out of the 67 who qualified. He was 24th in their receiving grades. QBs had a passer rating of 140.4 when targeting Griffin, which was the sixth best number among tight ends.

Outlook for 2020

The Jets were so impressed with what Griffin did last year they signed him to a three-year, $9.55 million extension in November.

Griffin figures to be a big part of the offense again this season. If Herndon is healthy, the Jets will have a nice 1-2 punch at tight end. That should help Sam Darnold’s development and also push the Jets’ offense out of the basement of the NFL rankings.

The Griffin signing was one of GM Joe Douglas’ best moves last year. It will be interesting to see how he does in Year 2 and coming off ankle surgery. If he can pick up where he left off last season with Darnold, that could be a nice connection for the Jets.

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