Oct 13, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland (87) runs with the ball while Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark (25) tries to tackle him during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Former Illini Jeff Cumberland Inks Second Contract with the New York Jets

Former Illinois Fighting Illini football player Jeff Cumberland has signed a new contract with the New York Jets. It’s the second time that Cumberland has been awarded a contract to play for New York.

Financial terms were not immediately disclosed, but became public through rotoworld.com with the following statement:

“Jets re-signed TE Jeff Cumberland to a three-year, $3.7 million contract, including $1 million guaranteed.”

I am in a unique position because I am also a Jets fan. So, I have followed his career a little more closely than most Jets fans probably would. I was happy to see him land with New York initially, and I am more than happy to see him re-sign with Gang Green at this time.

From a team perspective, this is a great signing because Cumberland has shown that he is capable of making big plays, and honestly, the Jets skill players have not shown the ability to make big plays with regularity. Therefore, identifying, and then retaining playmakers should be a necessity for New York. Even if he amounts to nothing more than a 2nd tight end option over the next 3 years, this is a solid signing for GM John Idzik because it offers the Jets offense a potent 2nd pass catching option from the tight end position.

Very quickly, I’d like to touch on one Illini memory that immediately jumps to mind when seeing Cumberland’s name once again in the news.

In 2009, one of my best friends and I decided to head to Camp Rantoul to take in the scrimmage, and one of the lasting images I have of that experience aside from Michael Buchanan’s raw speed off the edge is a play made by Cumberland when he streaked past Ashante Williams to catch a deep ball.

Following the catch, he just flat out left him in his wake as he streaked for a touchdown on the far sideline. It was pure speed, and it gave us hope that a huge year was coming for Cumberland in his senior season.

Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way, but it’s still nice to see that his career continues to head in the right direction at the next level.

You can follow Ryan on Twitter @RPKraemer.

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