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Steelers 2021 Free Agent Market Watch: Tight Ends the Steelers maybe can’t afford

BTSC takes a look at the top free agents at each position, whether or not they are in the Steelers price range. Here are the Tight Ends.

Los Angeles Rams v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Disclaimer: The author realizes that the 2021 Steelers are probably going to be 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.

The Steelers have many an issue on offense with losses on the line, at wide receiver and running back. At tight end, however, they signed Eric Ebron last season in free agency and he will be back after a pretty decent 2020. But Vance McDonald retired and Ebron only has a year remaining on his deal. If the Steelers aren’t too sure about his backups, Zach Gentry and Kevin Rader, they will probably focus on the position in the draft. They could also look at some valuable bargains in free agency. Should they find salary cap room to add, here is the list of available free agents should a Steel City Money Miracle occur.

ONCE AGAIN. THE AUTHOR REALIZES THAT THE STEELERS DO NOT HAVE THE FUNDS FOR MANY OF THESE PLAYERS. HOWEVER, THIS IS THE LIST OF WHO IS AVAILABLE TO THE ENTIRE LEAGUE AND THE STEELERS. YOU CAN CRITICIZE THE IDIOT AUTHOR ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER OR BLEACHER REPORT COMMENTS SECTION FOR WASTING YOUR TIME AND NOT KNOWING ANYTHING AT ALL, AGAIN AND AGAIN. HOWEVER, THESE WILL CONTINUE TO APPEAR.

Most Notable Free Agent Tight Ends

Hunter Henry - Los Angeles Chargers

Age 26, 6’3”/250 lbs.

Stats: Games - 14, Targets - 87, Receptions - 60, Receiving Yards - 613, Yards per Reception - 10.2 Touchdowns - 4, Drops - 3

No. 24 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 69.3 (Above Average), Receiving: 67.3 (Above Average), Pass Blocking 53.9 (Below Average), Run Blocking 68.8 (Above Average)

Henry was initially considered to be the next great pass-catching tight end in the league. However, injuries have plagued the former Arkansas Razorback. Henry has missed 25 games so far throughout his career, but only two last season. PFF projects the Chargers tight end to make $12 million per year due to his great hands, excellent route-running and ability to separate from defenders.


Robert Tonyan (RFA) - Green Bay Packers

Age 27, 6’5”/237 lbs.

Stats: Games - 16, Targets - 58, Receptions - 52, Receiving Yards - 586, Yards per Reception - 11.3 Touchdowns - 11, Drops - 0

No. 27 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 68.5 (Above Average), Receiving: 71.8 (Above Average), Pass Blocking 57.6 (Average), Run Blocking 52.2 (Below Average)

The Green Bay Packer TE had a breakout 2020 season. After only 14 receptions and two scores his first two years in the league, the athletic Tonyan caught 11 scoring balls from Aaron Rodgers last season. Teams may have to surrender a draft pick to sign Tonyan, but he may be worth it.


Rob Gronkowski - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Age 38, 6’6”/268 lbs.

Stats: Games - 16, Targets - 75, Receptions - 45, Receiving Yards - 623, Yards per Reception - 13.8, Touchdowns - 7, Drops - 3

No. 16 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 72.0 (Above Average), Receiving: 78.7 (Above Average), Pass Blocking 58.9 (Average), Run Blocking 55.0 (Below Average)

After coming out of retirement to win a Super Bowl in Tampa with Tom Brady, it’s doubtful that Gronk plays with any other QB. No. 87 is still a tremendous red zone threat with great hands and still blocks well too. Expect another year by the pirate ship, but never say never about Gronkowski ending up elsewhere.


Jonnu Smith - Tennessee Titans

Age 25, 6’3”/248 lbs.

Stats: Games - 15, Targets - 63, Receptions - 41, Receiving Yards - 448, Yards per Reception - 10.9, Touchdowns - 8, Drops - 2

Definitely not known for his blocking whatsoever, Jonnu Smith is an incredible pass catcher that does his best work after the catch. The Tennessee Titan is a tackle breaker extraordinaire. PFF projects a $38 million contact over four years for the 25-year old free agent.

No. 24 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 75.2 (High Quality), Receiving: 79.2 (High Quality), Pass Blocking 53.9 (Below Average), Run Blocking 68.8 (Above Average)


Gerald Everett - Los Angeles Rams

Age 27, 6’3”/240 lbs.

Stats: Games - 16, Targets - 59, Receptions - 41, Receiving Yards - 417, Yards per Reception - 10.2 Touchdowns - 1, Drops - 6

No. 45 PFF Position Ranking

Overall Grade: 62.8 (Average), Receiving: 63.2 (Average), Pass Blocking 55.9 (Average), Run Blocking 62.8 (Average)

Gerald Everett would be a great bargain signing for any team at a PFF projected $5 million per year. The highly athletic tight end hasn’t had blockbuster numbers, but if he finds an offense that values a TE with good hands an is dynamic after the catch...Everett can thrive.


Most Notable Steelers Free Agent Tight Ends

Vance McDonald

The Vanimal retired soon after the 2020 season ended for the Steelers.


Other Notable Free Agent Tight Ends

Anthony Firkser (RFA) - Tennessee Titans

MyCole Pruitt - Tennessee Titans

Geoff Swaim- Tennessee Titans

Trey Burton - Indianapolis Colts

Dan Arnold - Arizona Cardinals

Darrell Daniels - Arizona Cardinals

Jared Cook - New Orleans Saints

Tyler Kroft - Buffalo Bills

Jordan Reed - San Francisco 49ers

Tyler Eifert - Jacksonville Jaguars

James O’Shaughnessy - Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacob Hollister - Seattle Seahawks

Richard Rodgers - Philadelphia Eagles

Joshua Perkins - Philadelphia Eagles

Derek Carrier - Las Vegas Raiders

Jason Witten - Las Vegas Raiders

Chris Manhertz - Carolina Panthers

Jeremy Sprinkle - The Washington Football Team

Blake Bell - Dallas Cowboys

Luke Stocker - Atlanta Falcons

Virgil Green - Los Angeles Chargers

Cethan Carter - Cincinnati Bengals

Jake Butt - Denver Broncos

Demetrius Harris - Chicago Bears

Eric Tomlinson - Baltimore Ravens

Anthony Auclair - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Marcedes Lewis - Green Bay Packers

Daniel Brown - New York Jets

Ross Travis - New York Jets