The New York Jets lost a free agent they truly coveted in tight end Dustin Keller today, and their best and most consistent pass-catcher has signed a one-year deal with the AFC East rival Miami Dolphins, per a tweet from Adam Schefter. The Dolphins weren’t kidding when they said their goal was to go for playmakers on offense, and they have now added Keller to Mike Wallace for Ryan Tannehill to throw at. The Dolphins had a big need for a strong pass-catching tight end, and they just filled that with the addition of Keller. A great safety net for Mark Sanchez with the New York Jets, Keller will provide that same asset for Ryan Tannehill.
Keller sought a multi-year deal from the Dolphins, and that was the only hitch in talks. After realizing that a one-year pact was the best he would get, Keller decided to sign with the Dolphins, who are clearly putting all their chips on the table for the 2013 season. Keller had a disappointing 2012 season due to injuries, but his career year in 2011 (65 catches for 815 yards and five touchdowns) is an indication of what he can bring to the table for the Dolphins, and the ‘Fins would love to have that sort of production at the tight end position next year.
Moving the chains consistently as a possession guy and making a strong impact in the red zone are two key goals for most TEs in the passing game, and Keller completes both goals very well. He isn’t a great blocker or anything, but he more than makes up for it with his pass-catching ability. After Anthony Fasano signed a big deal with the Kansas City Chiefs a few days ago, the Dolphins sorely needed to add a legitimate tight end.
Another AFC East team in the Buffalo Bills showed interest, and the New York Giants were also involved as well. The Denver Broncos reportedly showed interest too, but none of those three teams were willing to give Keller a multi-year deal either. Thus, Keller decided to take the deal with the Dolphins, and this was an excellent deal for Miami. When I say that this deal dealt the division a blow, it is because Keller also had interest from the Bills and will leave the Jets for the Dolphins.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.