2013 NFL Free Agency: Tight End Rankings
Tony Gonzalez is either going to be the top free agent tight end, or he’s going to retire. Still, regardless of what he does, the tight end position figures to be fairly strong in 2013.
After Gonzalez, there’s still a solid crop of tight ends that could change hands and shake things up a bit. If Gonzo doesn’t return to Atlanta, perhaps the Falcons could just pick up one of these solid guys that are waiting next in line, rather than spend an early draft pick on a tight end.
That is all yet to be determined, but for now we can dive into the top available tight ends for 2013 and analyze their value:
1. Tony Gonzalez – Atlanta Falcons
Gonzalez will only be a free agent if he’s not retired, and even if he is I doubt he goes anywhere but right back to Atlanta. It’s looking like this is his last year, though, especially with the Falcons helping him win his first ever playoff game.
2. Fred Davis – Washington Redskins
Davis is coming off of a lost season, but he still has excellent size and solid athleticism. He can still be a very solid starting tight end in the right system, and might even have untapped potential. He just needs to prove he’s healthy.
3. Dennis Pitta – Baltimore Ravens (RFA)
Pitta has turned into a big of a star for the Ravens, and is a major fan favorite. He’s not leaving this year, and I fully expect the Ravens to make sure they hold onto him for the long-term.
4. Jared Cook – Tennessee Titans
Cook has excellent size and athleticism, but has been under-used in Tennessee and has always been very inconsistent. There are whispers that the team plans on using the franchise tag on him, but he’d probably rather just jump ship. Atlanta could be an interesting landing spot, should Tony Gonzalez opt to retire.
5. Dustin Keller – New York Jets
Keller is a solid blocker and better than average receiving tight end, but I think the Jets value him more than the rest of the league would. New York doesn’t have a ton of talent in the passing game right now, so as long as he doesn’t ask for the moon, I’m looking for them to keep him in the Big Apple.
6. Martellus Bennett – New York Giants
Bennett proved to be a very reliable target for Eli Manning, and has more than earned a new paycheck to return to New York. He will certainly have other suitors, however.
7. Brandon Myers – Oakland Raiders
Myers was a very steady receiver for the majority of the year, while also helping out as a blocker. I suspect the Raiders want to get a little more explosive at the position, but they’d be silly to let him go.
8. Ed Dickson – Baltimore Ravens (RFA)
Like teammate Pitta, I don’t see Dickson leaving, as he’s a restricted free agent. He’s still talented with some athleticism, but he’s slowly losing value.
9. Ben Watson – Cleveland Browns
Watson is aging and has a laundry list of injury issues, so it’s very doubtful he’s back in Cleveland. Especially not with youngster Jordan Cameron ready to bust out.
10. Anthony Fasano – Miami Dolphins
Fasano is a good blocker and a decent red-zone threat, but he really isn’t a special receiver or play-maker. Miami should work hard to upgrade the position this year, which means Fasano may have to go somewhere else as a backup.
11. Logan Paulsen – Washington Redskins
Paulsen proved to be a sure-handed receiver and we know he can block, but he probably shouldn’t be starting at the game’s highest level. He could return to Washington because he knows the system and wasn’t terrible when Fred Davis went down.
12. Visanthe Shiancoe – New England Patriots
Shank won’t be back in New England and seems to be nearing the end, altogether. He can catch the ball and has good size, but he’s not overly explosive and on the wrong side of 30. Perhaps the Bears could take a look at him.
13. Travis Beckum – New York Giants
Beckum will be healthy for 2013 and could build off of a solid 2011 season if he gets a fair chance. He’s athletic and is still young, so the Giants could retain him, as well.
14. Evan Moore – Philadelphia Eagles
Moore is a big target with exceptional pass-catching ability. Unfortunately, he’s not explosive, nor an elite blocker. I doubt he sticks in Philly, but someone will bring him in that likes to run two-tight end sets.
15. Todd Heap – Arizona Cardinals
Heap is aging and always hurting, but he’s a big name and he can do all the hard work teams ask for. He’s not the worst there is if he can stay healthy, so I wouldn’t count him out just yet.