Amazingly, aside from quarterback, the tight end position may now be the most talked-about by fans. Thanks to record-breaking seasons by guys like Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, teams around the league are all looking for the next big thing at this position. That said, both this year’s draft class and crop of free agents don’t look like budding superstars; that said, you never know.
DOLPHINS TE SITUATION:
The Fins have a couple of good bodies at this position, with veteran Anthony Fasano and 2011 rookie Charles Clay leading the way. Despite overall offensive struggles for much of the year, Fasano still finished with very respectable numbers: 451 yards receiving and five touchdowns. Clay, meanwhile, caught just 16 passes during his rookie year, but three of them were for touchdowns and he made a bunch of big plays–finishing with a healthy 14.6 yards per reception. No doubt Miami could look to bring in a couple of more bodies here, though I wouldn’t expect TE to be at the top of the priority list.
POTENTIAL FREE AGENTS:
Scott Chandler: The 6’7 Chandler had far and away his most productive NFL season in 2011, catching 38 passes for 389 yards and six touchdowns during his second season in Buffalo. Nine of his 10 career starts came this past season as teams will try and figure out whether last year was an aberration or the start of a nice run for him.
Dallas Clark- Clark was recently released by the Colts who are seemingly in full-scale rebuilding mode. Clark turns 33 in June, but is only several seasons removed from a spectacular 100 reception 2009 season in which he was a 1st team All-Pro selection. Clark has excellent hands and should still have several more productive years left provided that he stays healthy. Clark has missed 15 games over the past two seasons.
Visanthe Shiancoe: The 31 year old out of Morgan State has had a very productive nine year career for the Giants and Vikings. He’s played in all 16 games every year of his career and but is coming off his least productive season in Minnesota since 2005. Last year he caught 36 passes for 409 yards and just three touchdowns and has just five TD receptions the last two years. That said, the Vikes’ QB situation has been a mess and in 2009, he caught 11 touchdowns from Brett Favre.
Jeremy Shockey: The kid from The U will turn 32 before the regular season starts but seems to still have some gas left in the tank. His productivity last year in Carolina wasn’t quite what it had been in New Orleans, but that could be a lot about the fact that he went from Drew Brees to rookie Cam Newton (and the fact that the Panthers used like 14 tight ends last year). He could definitely be a viable option for a team looking to add some spark at this position.
Other tight ends that are free agents-to-be include: Anthony Becht, Martellus Bennett, Donald Lee, Leonard Pope, Bo Scaife, and Jacob Tamme.
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