Free agent tight end Gary Barnidge was released by the Cleveland Browns in April, a little more than a year following the Pro Bowl nod he earned with the team. Barnidge's release came on the second day of the NFL Draft.
Not the greatest timing for Barnidge. Still, having hauled in 134 receptions for 1,655 yards and 11 touchdowns over the last two seasons, Barnidge will eventually find himself a new NFL home.
According to him, there's a chance the Denver Broncos could be interested in Barnidge. He revealed that some of his former coaches who now work for the Broncos have been in contact with him of late.
The Denver Broncos currently have seven tight ends on their roster. Granted, right now the roster is bloated, as the team has swollen it's ranks to 90 players as they prepare for training camp this summer.
Eventually that number will be whittled down to 53 players on the active roster and 10 on the practice squad. Of course, not all seven of those tight ends will make the active roster, nor the practice squad.
But there's no doubt that Denver needs better production out of their tight end group this year, which is why they pulled the trigger on Michigan two-time All-American Jake Butt in the fifth round. Butt joins veterans Virgil Green, Jeff Heuerman and A.J. Derby in the most imminent competition for a roster spot.
We shouldn't sleep on Henry Krieger-Coble, who spent 2016 on Denver's practice squad after going undrafted out of Iowa. Green is the elder statesman of the group but aside from his blocking acumen, has never developed into the receiving threat the Broncos need.
Barnidge, 31, would make sense for the Broncos as a short-term band-aid, if they released Green. The Broncos could save $2.8 million on the salary cap by releasing Green. But Barnidge would probably come at a similar cost.
Green is a blocker, who has some ability as a receiver — despite little production to back it up. Conversely, Barnidge has buttered his bread in the NFL as a receiving threat. Deciding between the two would come down to priorities.
Does new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy value blocking or receiving higher in the system he has structured for the Broncos? Were I a betting man, I'd wager on the latter.
However, unless Denver chooses to release Green first, I wouldn't expect them to actually pursue Barnidge, even though they have the cap space. There are simply too many tight ends on the roster already.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.