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Revisiting the Chris Herndon Trade Six Weeks Later

It's safe to say the Chris Herndon trade has worked out in the Jets' favor.

New York sent their embattled tight end (and a sixth-round pick) to the Vikings just before the regular season began in exchange for a fourth-rounder. That put an end to Herndon's tenure in green and white while giving Gang Green an upgrade in their upcoming draft class.

Exactly six weeks later, the deal looks like a steal for the Jets.

Herndon has yet to catch a pass through five games with Minnesota, coming up empty on his two targets. Further, he's barely been on the field, appearing in just 50 snaps through Week 5. That's just 14 percent of the Vikings' offensive snaps this season. 

Sure, New York hasn't had a plethora of production from their tight end room. Veterans Ryan Griffin and Tyler Kroft both have fewer than 50 receiving yards this season. But seeing Herndon's numbers in Minnesota, or lack thereof, should make the Jets and their fans feel a lot better about the situation. 

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The deal made sense for Minnesota at the time. The Vikings needed to help fill the void left behind by an injury to Irv Smith Jr. just before the regular season began. Herndon simply hasn't factored into their offense, though. Tyler Conklin has been Minnesota's most productive tight end, racking up 169 receiving yards (the fourth-best mark on the team).

In other words, New York was able to exploit Minnesota's need for depth at the tight end position to offload a player that's been declining ever since his rookie year (back in 2018). This was going to be Herndon's final year on his contract with the Jets anyway—better to get value in return. 

Little did general manager Joe Douglas and his crew know (or perhaps they did) that Herndon would net them a two-round upgrade in the draft while providing zero output for his new team.

Who knows how Herndon would have performed in New York's offense with rookie quarterback Zach Wilson. With the improvements the Jets made at wide receiver, and Wilson's woes through Week 5, odds are the tight end wasn't going to factor into New York's offense either. 

The future at the tight end position for Gang Green remains unclear. Perhaps the Jets will look to address that position this offseason with some younger talent. But for now, Douglas, the Jets and their fans can bask in the glory of this successful trade, waiting patiently until the organization has their chance to turn Herndon's return into a steal in the fourth round.

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