Ever since Gary Kubiak was announce as the new head coach of the Denver Broncos, tight end Owen Daniels has been a hot name to join his old coach. As a nine-year veteran, Daniels has spent every year he’s been in the league in a Kubiak offense, including 2014 with the Baltimore Ravens.
There’s no doubt the Broncos are in the market for help at tight end, with only one currently under contract—Dominique Jones. Julius Thomas is an unrestricted free agent and is expected to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars for about $9M per year when the market opens at 2pm MST tomorrow.
Jacob Tamme is an unrestricted free agent, and although I wouldn’t completely write off the possibility of him returning to Denver, his scheme-fit (or lack thereof) in the new offense makes it unlikely.
Virgil Green, arguably the Broncos No. 1 choice to start at tight end this upcoming season and the catalyst to the running game firing on all cylinders, is also a UFA but the Broncos have already extended an offer to retain him on a multi-year deal. However, with “six to eight” teams interested in him, Green reportedly wants to consider all offers before deciding.
Whether Green returns or not, the Broncos will need an experienced veteran tight end. According to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, John Elway thinks Owen Daniels could indeed be that guy. And for good measure, the Broncos are also taking a long look at former Ravens and Panthers tight end Ed Dickson.
Dickson came to the NFL via the third round of the 2010 draft, but underachieved in Baltimore, which led to their decision not to bring him back after his rookie contract expired. He spent 2014 with the Panthers, catching just 10 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown.
As the Panthers No. 2 TE behind Greg Olson, Dickson saw 532 snaps in 2014 and earned a -13.9 cumulative grade via Pro Football Focus, with negative grades in both pass and run blocking. Owens saw his role increase when Dennis Pitta was lost for the season, and caught 48 passes for 527 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Daniels fared much better than Dickson in the eyes of PFF, although still earning a negative cumulative grade, with -0.9. Although neither are on the same level as a blocker as Virgil Green, Daniels is the more consistent player in this area.
Daniels is 32 years old and nearing the end of his career and likely wants to end it with the man who drafted him. It also doesn’t hurt that Daniels would be playing for a Super Bowl contender, if he ends up in Denver. Although the Broncos have reportedly shown interest in Jordan Cameron, I expect them to move fast on Daniels, once the market officially opens tomorrow afternoon.
Mike Klis of the Denver Post is reporting that Owen Daniels is coming to Denver today, with the intention of meeting with the Broncos Wednesday.
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