Carlson's retirement leaves Cards thin at TE

John Carlson's surprising retirement leaves the Arizona Cardinals spread thin at the tight end position heading into the 2015 campaign.

The news of TE John Carlson’s retirement was a shock to everyone, including the Arizona Cardinals.

The Cardinals were expecting Carlson to be the team’s starting tight end for 2015 and beyond but Carlson has decided to step away from football.

In his six-year NFL career, Carlson totaled 210 receptions for 2,256 yards and 15 touchdowns. Carlson’s first two seasons with the Seattle Seahawks proved to be his most productive with his yearly output consistently dropping during stints with the Minnesota Vikings and the Cardinals.

While the timing of Carlson’s decision was not ideal – coming just days after the draft – Arizona does have some other options to turn to. First up will be Troy Niklas, a second-round pick in last year’s draft.

Niklas’ career got off to a slow start as he played in only seven games as a rookie, but he’ll be counted on to step up in 2015 and take the reigns as Arizona’s top tight end.

Backing up Niklas is Darren Fells, a former professional basketball player who’s more of a development prospect, and Gerald Christianson who was the final pick of the 2015 draft that concluded last weekend.

Arizona also has the option to shop around for a trade and could find a veteran to bring in via the free-agent market.

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