Here is a list of select Tight Ends who currently have the opportunity to become unrestricted free agents at that time. These players can re-sign with their current teams at any time and can begin to negotiate with other teams beginning on March 9th.
Martellus Bennett/Giants (6’6, 265): In his first year in New York, Bennett had his most consistent, productive season of his career, by far, setting career highs in catches (55), yards (625) and touchdowns (five). As mostly a supplementary piece for the Cowboys offense, playing behind Jason Witten, the former Texas A&M Aggie had 85 grabs for 846 yards in four seasons.
James Casey/Texans (6’3, 240): A 2009 fifth-round pick, Casey has been a jack of all trades for the Texans offense, lining up both in the backfield and on the line, serving as a prototypical H-back. With starting tight end Owen Daniels working his way through some bumps and bruises in 2012, Casey, a 2009 fifth-round pick out of Rice, had a larger role in the Houston passing game, finishing with career highs in catches (34), receiving yards (330) and touchdowns (three).
Jared Cook/Titans (6’5, 248): The Titans declined the option to place the franchise tag on Cook, so it appears that the four-year veteran will test the market. A hybrid threat whom Tennessee often split out wide, Cook finished last season with 44 receptions for 523 yards and a career-high four touchdowns. Cook, a four-year veteran out of South Carolina, averaged 15.5 yards per catch in 2011, the second-highest mark for a tight end behind Jake Ballard.
Fred Davis/Redskins (6’4, 247): Before he tore his Achilles tendon in October, Davis was having a solid season, catching 24 passes for 325 yards. The five-year veteran out of USC had his best year in 2011, when he finished with 59 receptions for 796 yards and three touchdowns in just 12 games.
Anthony Fasano/Dolphins (6’4, 255): A 2006 second-round pick out of Notre Dame, Fasano has been a steady performer for the Dolphins the past five years, averaging 35.4 catches per season. In 2012, with rookie Ryan Tannehill taking over at quarterback, Fasano finished with a career-high 41 receptions for 332 yards and five touchdowns, which tied him Jim Mandich (23) for second-most touchdowns by a tight end in Dolphins history — the seven-year veteran trails record holder Bruce Hardy by just two scores.
Tony Gonzalez/Falcons (6’5, 247): Though it initially was speculated that Gonzalez may retire after Atlanta’s loss in the NFC Championship Game, there seems to me a decent chance he will return for his 17th NFL season. There is no question that Gonzalez, 37, can still play. He finished with 93 catches — the most since he arrived in Atlanta in 2009 — for 930 yards and eight touchdowns.
Dustin Keller/Jets (6’2, 250): The always-solid Keller was plagued by injuries in 2012, playing in only eight games (starting five) as he fought through ankle and hamstring problems. Prior to 2012, Keller, a Purdue product, had increased his catch, yardage and touchdown total in three consecutive seasons, peaking at 65 catches for 815 yards and five touchdowns in 2011.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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