Free Agency Diary

2016’s NFL Top Free Agent Tight Ends

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As we continue ranking the top free agents at every position, we move to the tight ends.  Most of the available tight ends have an issue or two, whether it be age, hands or blocking, but there are plenty of guys who can be productive in the right situation.

  1. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts- Allen is clearly the best tight end on the market as he’s just 25 years old and was underutilized as a member of the Colts.  Allen is a solid blocker who can be a great weapon in the passing game and he hasn’t even hit his prime.  Best fits:  Indianapolis, New York Giants, New York Jets, Arizona, Chicago, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, San Diego, St. Louis, San Francisco, Houston, Oakland. 
  2. Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts- Fleener is more of a receiving threat than a great blocker and he had to split targets with Allen and all of the rest of the Colts receivers.  Indy will likely re-sign he or Allen, but almost definitely not both. Best fits: Arizona, Houston, New York Giants, Chicago, Buffalo, San Diego, Tampa Bay. 
  3. Jared Cook, Los Angeles Rams- Cook was released over the weekend and it was mainly due to the money he was due.  He’s still a productive target but his numbers were down because of the quarterback situation with the Rams.  He has never really played with a better than average quarterback and that’s likely what the 28-year old will be looking for in his next team. Best fits: New York Giants, San Diego, Tampa Bay, Buffalo. 
  4. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers- Gates will have a limited market due to his age (35), but he proved last season that when he did play he was a pretty good target in the passing game.  Best fits: San Diego, New York Giants, New York Jets, Arizona, San Francisco. 
  5. Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers- Green looks the part and catches the football well.  Still, he doesn’t make enough plays to justify his physical talents.  There will be teams interested in him.  Best fits: Houston, New York Giants, Denver, Oakland, San Francisco. 
  6. Vernon Davis, Denver Broncos- Davis’ career has taken a sharp decline from the player who was a Pro Bowler in San Francisco. Part of it is due to the quarterbacks he was playing with and how much of it is declining skills is uncertain.  His lack of production and how he left the 49ers will limit his market. Best fits: Indianapolis, Arizona, New York Jets, Tampa Bay, Houston. 
  7. Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars- Lewis is an elite blocker and has inconsistent hands.  He’s a professional who can make a roster better as a complementary tight end.  Best fits: Jacksonville, San Diego, Pittsburgh, New York Giants, Houston. 
  8. Andrew Quarless, Green Bay Packers- Quarless has been a good red zone target for the Packers but he missed 11 games in 2015.  At 27, he should still have a market. Best fits: Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, New York Jets.
  9. Ben Watson, New Orleans Saints- Watson had a nice revival last season playing with Drew Brees and he had the most productive year of his career.  His best bet is to re-sign with the Saints or play with another great quarterback.  Best fits: New Orleans, San Diego, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh. 
  10. Zach Miller, Chicago Bears- Miller has had intriguing physical abilities for his entire career but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy.  Miller had his best season last year in Chicago and developed a rapport with Jay Cutler.  Best fits: Chicago, New Orleans, San Diego, Tampa Bay, Buffalo. 

To find the best free agent quarterbacks, click here. 

To find the best free agent running backs, click here.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.