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TE free agency preview

Posted Mar 5, 2013


Free agency opens at 4 pm on March 12th. Each day this week we’ll be previewing some of the positions where Buffalo might look to improve their roster, and try to find potential fits for the Bills. We continue our series this week at tight end.

FREE AGENCY PREVIEWS: WR | TE | CB | LB | G

Tight end is a position where the Bills had an entrenched starter in Scott Chandler. However, following Chandler’s ACL knee injury in Week 16, his availability is in doubt for training camp and the start of the regular season. With limited depth behind him, especially in the pass catching department Bills GM Buddy Nix has admitted the team is in the market to make an addition.

The heavy hitters
Jared Cook – Tennessee –
Cook has great size and the physical attributes to be a mismatch in coverage similar to Chandler. Athletic enough to be a downfield threat in the passing game, Cook hasn’t been able to produce in a way that’s fitting of his skill set. But there’s no denying his pass catching and big play ability. Age 25.

Fred Davis – Washington – Davis is a versatile tight end, but coming off an Achilles injury his physical state will play a large role in what he could command on the open market. Capable of getting consistent separation in the passing game Davis also has the ability to line up as an H-back or on the line. Age 27.

Tony Gonzalez – Atlanta – He’s 50-50 to retire according to reports and if he does play a 16th season he’s expected to re-sign with the Falcons. Gonzalez has lost a step, but can still find the soft spots in zones and is a go-to guy in the red zone. Age 37.

Dustin Keller – NY Jets – Another mismatch in the passing game, Keller is more of a split out type tight end. A solid route runner with great hands, Keller can be a go-to guy particularly in the red zone. His athletic ability enables him to make plays despite less than ideal size. His injury history (see: hamstring) is the only drawback. Age 28.

Middle market
Martellus Bennett – NY Giants –
Bennett is a capable of being an in-line blocker while also athletic enough to make plays in the passing game. Coming off a career-high season in catches (55), receiving yards (626) and touchdowns (5) Bennett is a good mismatch in terms of size and speed. Age 26.

Anthony Fasano – Miami – The veteran tight end is never going to wow anyone with athleticism, but is a well-rounded tight end that has enough athleticism to make plays and help a passing game. Capable of standing his ground as a blocker, Fasano offers an offense a consistent and durable player. Age 28.

Brandon Myers – Oakland – Coming off a breakout season with the Raiders (79 rec., 806 yds, 4 TDs), Myers has developed into a solid passing option. A willing blocker that battles, Myers is not a game breaking threat in the passing game, but knows how to find gaps in the defense and make plays. Age 27.

Leonard Pope – Pittsburgh – With production that’s fallen short of his physical talent, Pope has bounced around the league a bit. A good blocker and route runner Pope is a major mismatch at 6’8”, but is mainly a short area receiver. Pope offers a great jump ball target in the end zone. Age 29.

Delanie Walker – San Francisco – Another versatile player that offers options in-line and as an H-back. Has even lined up at fullback on occasion. A dependable route runner, Walker gets consistent separation and developed into a reliable third down option for the 49ers. Age 28.

Veteran options
Dallas Clark – Tampa Bay

Chris Cooley – Washington

Ben Watson – Cleveland

Possible fits for the Bills
Martellus Bennett –
Bennett is not expected to be re-signed by the Giants. Coming off a productive season the tight end might be on the verge of providing the most consistent play of his career.

Anthony Fasano – Fasano could be a dependable target in the passing game and offer enough on the blocking side to be a reliable starter.

Brandon Myers – A young player still looking to improve, Myers could build on his breakout numbers of last season in the right offensive system.