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NFL free agents: Why ex-Jaguars, Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins makes sense for Giants

The Jacksonville Jaguars declined their team-option on former Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins on Thursday, and he could be an ideal fit in the Giants‘ offense.

In his lone season with the Jaguars, Seferian-Jenkins quickly developed the reputation as a solid leader and effective run-blocker, which are two qualities that Giants head coach Pat Shurmur seems to covet.

Seferian-Jenkins, 26, showed what he was capable of as a receiver during his time with the Jets. In 2017, Seferian-Jenkins caught a career-high 50 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns.

However, a core-muscle injury landed Seferian-Jenkins on injured reserve after just five games with the Jaguars last season. Seferian-Jenkins caught 11 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown in 2018.

Giants tight end Evan Engram missed three games due to a sprained MCL and two more with a concussion last season. When healthy, Engram also saw his snaps decreased during a stretch of the season, due in part to his struggles as a blocker.

“He’s gotten better, but again, is he where we need him to be at as a team? No,” Giants tight ends coach Lunda Wells said, back in September. “He’s working his behind off every day, every week to continue to get better with the techniques. He’s done a really good job of understanding the techniques, understanding the footwork and the things that we’re asking him to do. He’s continuing to progress because of his hard work.”

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The Giants ran 12 personnel on 24 percent of their offensive snaps last season, If that trend continues, Engram and Seferian-Jenkins could create a formidable duo of pass-catching tight ends. Seferian-Jenkins could also stay on the field on running downs, because of his ability as a blocker

Adding Seferian-Jenkins to a tight ends room that includes Engram, Rhett Ellison and Scott Simonson would give it a veteran boost.

Simonson is set to be a free agent when the new league-year begins in March. Additionally, if the Giants explore the possibility of trading Engram this offseason, Seferian-Jenkins’ ability to contribute as a receiver would ease the transition in the passing game.

Matt Lombardo may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MattLombardoNFL

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