After joining his fifth different team in six seasons, tight end Ricky Seals-Jones is looking for a permanent home with the New York Giants.
Seals-Jones has played in 54 games with just 15 starts, totaling 90 receptions for 1,044 yards (11.6 avg.) and 10 touchdowns. He started a career-high six games for Washington last season, finishing the year with 30 receptions for 271 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games.
With the Giants, Seals-Jones (6-5, 243 pounds) has his biggest opportunity yet. As the roster currently stands, the veteran is easily the most experienced tight end on the roster. Jake Hausmann and Rysen John have yet to appear in an NFL game, while Chris Myarick has just three receptions for 17 yards and a score in 11 career games (three starts).
"Just the opportunity to come in and compete for the [No.] 1 spot," Seals-Jones, 27, told the Giants Huddle podcast. "I like what the coaches said I've got going on. Just come in and try to shake up the division and go from there…
"I'm coming in and trying to take the [No.] 1 spot and compete for it. That's my goal, is to come in and take it day by day, and go out and compete."
Similar to a lot of the other free agents the Giants signed this offseason, Seals-Jones has prior experience with the coaching staff. The tight end spent the 2020 season with the Kansas City Chiefs, where offensive coordinator Mike Kafka was serving as quarterbacks coach & passing game coordinator.
"It helped a lot. We were in KC together, spent a season together, and I learned a lot from him," Seals-Jones said. "Just having small conversations on the practice field. It was good, and when you have that relationship it kind of makes your decision a little bit easier. I sat down and thought about it, and felt like it was a great fit for me."
As for how Kafka's creativity from his time with the Chiefs could benefit Seals-Jones this season, the veteran tight end could not contain his excitement.
"Speed and creativity. You just have to pick his brain," said the tight end. "He's gifted in what he does. I'm excited to be a part of that and see the creativity that he comes up with."
Seals-Jones' experience in Kansas City also put him in the tight ends room with Travis Kelce, one of the greatest to play the position. Having a front-row seat proved helpful.
"Watching Kelce when I was in KC, you just see a lot of things that he does and the way he communicates with his QB," said the tight end. "You try to take that and use that when you go to a new team or the quarterback that you have and are playing with. I feel like I did that a little bit last year with Taylor (Heinicke), me and him got on the same page and had some stuff going. I'm just trying to bring that here."
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has shown a fondness toward tight ends - Evan Engram (who has signed with the Jaguars) was one of the team's leading receivers in each of the last three seasons.
"Really, just being a safety net is how I see it as tight ends," Seal-Jones said of how he can assist Jones. "As far as down the field throws, if it's not there, he knows that you're in your spot. When we start up, that's one of the biggest things for me, is to just let him know 'Hey, I'm going to be where you need me to be.' So, just in case some stuff goes wrong or pocket collapses or whatever, scramble drill, he knows that he has his security blanket in his pocket. That's one of the biggest things for me."
View photos of the career of new Giants tight end Ricky-Seals Jones.
Seals-Jones caught two touchdowns last season, one of which came against the Giants in Week 2. Late in the fourth quarter, the tight end went up and made an incredible play in the corner of the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown, giving Washington a one-point lead with a little over four minutes remaining.
The Texas native has come a long way since his days at Texas A&M. During his four years with the Aggies, Seals-Jones played wide receiver, catching 123 passes for 1,442 yards and 10 touchdowns. But he was always rather large for his position.
While preparing for the 2017 NFL Draft, his cousin convinced him to convert to tight end because of his size. Although some NFL prospects may not enjoy it when family members meddle with their careers, different rules apply when your cousin is Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson.
"I didn't want to hear it. I was just stubborn at the time," Seals-Jones explained about the position switch. "But I'm glad I did, it's working out for me. But yeah, it was a conversation where I kind of had to swallow my pride, like 'Man, I've been a receiver all of my life. I've been balling out in college.' That conversation was tough. But it was a good one to have. He helped me in a good way. I'm glad for him to have put me in that position."
The new Giants tight end has a great advisor in the form of Dickerson, as the two continue to speak daily about both football and life outside of the sport. And the tight end is still trying to improve his game.
"I've gotten better each year and just continue to be a [complete] tight end and focus on the little things of run blocking, pass catching," Seals-Jones said. "Yeah, I look at every year and feel like I get better and better. The more opportunities I've gotten, I've shown. I just keep stacking those days, putting in the work and hopefully it pays off."
Seals-Jones got his first taste of what playing in the NFC East is like last year. With six more matchups to come this season, the veteran cannot wait to face off against the rest of the division.
"It's a grind. It's a grind and I love it," Seals-Jones said. "I think last year I fit in perfectly with this division. Any given Sunday, you can wake up and lose, so you have to come with it. You can't take any team in this division lightly, no matter what their record is because you can get beat. I love it. I love how you have to prepare like it's the Super Bowl every week in this division. I'm excited to get things going again."
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