Disclaimer: The author realizes that the team is burning in Salary Cap Hell and can’t pony up much money for free agents. However, you never know what they have planned and it’s the author’s responsibility to highlight the free agent options. It’s like the lyric in The Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”... But if you try sometimes, you get what you need.
The Steelers have am uncertain situation when it comes to the position of tight end. Nick Vannett is a free agent, Zach Gentry was drafted as a project and didn’t contribute his rookie year and Vance McDonald did not perform well last year and is frequently injured. Does a Ben Roethlisberger return mean a better showing by the Vanimal or has that ship sailed? Do they draft one? Do they try to drum up money to bring in one through free agency? As unlikey as the prospect is, Kevin Colbert could get lucky under the couch cushions. Here the list of available free agents should the Steelers find themselves able to shop come March.
Austin Hooper - Atlanta Falcons
2019 Receiving - 13 games, 75 receptions, 787 yards, 6 touchdowns
Hooper is definitely the prize of the free agent pool as far as the TE position goes. The second-leading receiver last year for the pass-happy Falcons, The 6’4” and 254-pound Hooper is also a vey sure-handed receiver that has improved every year since having been drafted in the third round out of Stanford in 2016.
Hunter Henry - Los Angeles Chargers
2019 Receiving - 12 games, 55 receptions, 652 yards, 5 touchdowns
The last time the Steelers landed a Tight End in free agency from the Chargers, it was an injury disaster. But Ladarius Green didn’t have as many red health flags as Hunter Henry. Henry could be in the Kelce/Kittle conversation, but his missing 20 games the previous two seasons is a huge concern. A team is going to either have to take a huge leap of faith and hope he stays football healthy or get him at a bargain price.
Blake Jarwin - Dallas Cowboys
2019 Receiving - 16 games, 31 receptions, 365 yards, 3 touchdowns
Jarwin could be a fabulous, free agent bargain. At 26, he has exhibited plenty signs of promise and would fit it nicely in Pittsburgh, should they find the funds. The stats shouldn’t be a huge concern, as Jarwin split time with Jason Witten in 2020. The 2017 Undrafted Free Agent started seven games last year, but sources around the league think he can be a full-time starter in the NFL.
Eric Ebron - Indianapolis Colts
2019 Receiving - 11 games, 31 receptions, 375 yards, 3 touchdown
Ebron had a phenomenal 2018, but his career has been largely one of disappointment and underachievement. He’s high on athletic talent, but has been suspect with route-running and dropped balls over the course of his career with Detroit and Indy. However, being paired with another veteran QB (13 TDs with Luck in ‘18) like Roethlisberger could greatly improve his fortune and productivity. He may come on the cheap as well.
Greg Olsen - Carolina Panthers
2019 Receiving - 14 games, 52 receptions, 597 yards, 2 touchdowns
Olsen is no longer what he once was in this league. However, he was very productive at age 34 last year. A team on the precipice of a championship should consider Olsen. He has the skill and the experience to help deliver a ring.
Other Notable Free Agent Tight Ends
Jacob Hollister - Seattle Seahawks (RFA)
Nick Vannett - Pittsburgh Steelers
Tyler Eifert - Cincinnati Bengals
Charles Clay - Arizona Cardinals
Dan Arnold - Arizona Cardinals (RFA)
Ricky Seals-Jones - Cleveland Browns (RFA)
Nick O’Leary - Jacksonville Jaguars
Seth DeValve - Jacksonville Jaguars
Blake Bell - Kansas City Chiefs
Luke Willson - Seattle Seahawks
Regardless of affordability, what Free Agent Tight End would you like the Steelers to sign in 2020?
This poll is closed
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