Other Targets to Target

Although the tight end position is not as important in Ron Turner's offense as it was supposed to be in Terry Shea's, there is a definite need for an upgrade over the current cast of characters.

Bubba Franks-Green Bay-UFA
Despite three Pro Bowl appearances in five years, Franks has caught more than 36 balls only once. He's a reliable target inside the red zone with 28 career touchdown receptions. Not a polished blocker, but would fit in the Bears west coast offense. The Packers want him back after another solid season but don't intend to break the bank to do it.

Jermaine Wiggins-Minnesota-UFA
Wiggins' team-high 71 catches during the regular season ranks second in team history for a tight end behind Joe Senser's 79. He's a young 30 because heading into this season he had started just 20 of 61 games.

"This is what I told everybody in the league I could do," said Wiggins, whose career high in catches before this season was 18. "Now they know that when I'm given the chance to do something, I do it." Wiggins is the first player other than Anthony Carter, Cris Carter or Randy Moss to lead the Vikings in receptions since 1986.

Freddie Jones-Arizona-UFA
Jones still has potential for a few years of high production with excellent physical tools as a receiving tight end, but a poor blocker and it seems a firecracker must be lit under him at times; back only if team finds nothing better. He was sixth among NFC tight ends with 45 receptions, but will turn 31 early next season.

Jeb Putzier-Denver-RFA
The Broncos love Putzier's upside. He's a candidate to be given a long-term deal, but he makes it onto the free agent market he could be a steal. He averaged 15.9 yards on 36 receptions in his first chance to get major playing time. At 6-foot-4, 256 pounds he has enough size to be an above average blocker.

Stephen Alexander-Detroit-UFA
Alexander drops too many passes but upgraded the position in 2004 for the Lions, who will likely to try to re-sign the seven-year veteran. He caught 41 balls for Detroit, which is third time his hit over forty in his career.

Ken Dilger-Tampa Bay-UFA
Dilger is a 10th year pro was third on team with 39 catches, which is three more than all of the Bears tight ends combined for this season. At 33 his better years are behind him, but could be an inexpensive addition to add depth at the position.


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