NFL Free Agency: Tight Ends

Though the Chiefs are set at Tight End with Tony Gonzalez, Jason Dunn and Kris Wilson, the rest of the NFL might find some good hands this March.

2005 Free-Agent Tight Ends

A listing of the tight ends scheduled for NFL free agency in 2005. UFA=Unrestricted Free Agent; RFA=Restricted Free Agent; ERFA=Exclusive Rights Free Agent. For definitions of free-agent terms, click here. The "Best of the Bunch" is sorted by rankings from Scout.com's Lane Adkins. The "Rest of the Bunch" is sorted by free-agent type, then by most recent team. Comments provided for unrestricted free agents.
BEST OF THE BUNCH
Player Free-Agent Type 2004 Team
Antonio Gates ERFA Chargers
Jermaine Wiggins UFA Vikings
Comment: Became a go-to target for Daunte Culpepper when Randy Moss went down. Caught 50 balls in first four seasons before pacing the Vikings with 71 receptions in ¹04, which is why Minnesota will try to bring him back.
Freddie Jones UFA Cardinals
Comment: Jones still has potential for a few years of high production with excellent physical tools as a receiving tight end, but he¹s a poor blocker. Although he was sixth among NFC tight ends with 45 receptions, he¹s back only if Arizona finds nothing better.
Chad Lewis UFA Eagles
Comment: Still has the ability to be a quality tight end, but with L.J. Smith as the starter Lewis might have to play at a reduced rate.
Jeb Putzier UFA Broncos
Comment: Is a candidate to be given a long-term deal, as 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 UFA Lions
Comment: Lions will likely to try to re-sign the seven-year veteran. He caught 41 balls for Detroit, which is the third time he went over 40 in his career.
Bubba Franks UFA Packers
Comment: Despite three Pro Bowl appearances in five years, Franks has caught more than 36 balls only once. The Packers want him back but don't intend to break the bank to do it.
Ken Dilger UFA Buccaneers
Comment: The10-year pro was third on team with 39 catches. At 33 his better years are behind him, but he could be an inexpensive addition to add depth at the position.
Itula Mili UFA Seahawks
Comment: Reduced playing time led to a drop in production from 23 receptions this season compared to 89 over the previous two years. Candidate for a new home because Seattle has two younger tight ends.
Daniel Wilcox ERFA Ravens
Terry Jones RFA Ravens
Justin Peelle RFA Chargers
Anthony Becht UFA Jets
Comment: Has been unhappy with his diminishing role in the offense, in which he has been used almost exclusively as a blocker. The Jets won't make an attempt to bring Becht back unless he takes a pay cut.
Chris Baker RFA Jets
Will Heller RFA Buccaneers
Casey Fitzsimmons ERFA Lions
Darnell Dinkins RFA Ravens
Walter Rasby UFA Steelers
Comment: Caught on with Steelers over final month of the season and caught five balls. Will be 33 by the start of the ¹05 season.
Ryan Neufeld UFA Bills
Comment: Injuries forced him into starting role, which is a stretch. He caught just six balls for 61 yards and is better suited as a second- or third-stringer.
Cam Cleeland UFA Rams
Comment: Not used often in the Rams¹ scheme, but could be an effective backup for another team.
REST OF THE BUNCH
Player Free-Agent Type 2004 Team
Steve Bush UFA 49ers
Comment: A capable third-string tight end with eight years of experience.
Mike Leach UFA Broncos
Comment: The Broncos are happy with Leach as a long-snapper and know that he can play tight end in a pinch, so he¹s likely to return to Denver.
Patrick Hape UFA Broncos
Comment: A solid and versatile performer, and considering the Broncos¹ cap situation he¹s one of the low-cost players they need on the roster.
Dave Moore UFA Buccaneers
Comment: It may be time for the 13-year veteran to retire after catching just three balls.
Rickey Dudley UFA Buccaneers
Comment: A thumb injury limited him to three games and the same number of receptions. Dudley has had single-digit reception totals in three of the last four years.
Kendall Gammon UFA Chiefs
Comment: You won¹t see Gammon running many routes, as he¹s strictly a long snapper and blocking tight end.
Ed Perry UFA Dolphins
Comment: The Dolphins missed Perry in O03 because of a preseason knee injury, which why they brought the long snapper back in O04. They¹ll likely to do it again next season.
Marcellus Rivers UFA Giants
Comment: Rivers can't block very well but has speed, reasonably good hands and is a top-notch special teams performer. That makes him intriguing, even to the Giants.
Ben Steele UFA Packers
Comment: The Packers like Steele and he appears to have found a home in Green Bay after bouncing around the league for three seasons. They hope to re-sign him as the backup to Bubba Franks.
David Martin UFA Packers
Comment: Martin isn¹t a good blocker, and considering he caught just five balls he¹s not a factor in the Packers offense. He has talent as a pass catcher and might be better off with a new team.
Brian Kozlowski UFA Redskins
Comment: A veteran that is known for his toughness and intelligence.
Lamont Hall UFA Saints
Comment: Around for his ability to be an effective blocker. Had just one catch this year after being out of football in 2003.
Matt Cushing UFA Steelers
Comment: Has stuck in the league for six years as an undrafted free agent and could be an option as a third tight end.
John Gilmore RFA Bears
John Owens RFA Bears
Keith Heinrich RFA Browns
Brian Jones RFA Jaguars
Ryan Hannam RFA Seahawks
Matt Murphy RFA Texans
Lorenzo Diamond ERFA Cardinals
Brock Edwards ERFA Chargers
Aaron Golliday ERFA Chiefs
Brett Pierce ERFA Cowboys
Sean Ryan ERFA Cowboys
Dwayne Blakely ERFA Falcons
Eddie Johnson ERFA Panthers

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