Tight Ends: Who will fit in?

The tight end will be one of the key positions to new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's West Coast offensive attack. How will last year's starter Kyle Brady and backup unrestricted free agent Pete Mitchell fit into the future plans of the Jaguars?


The tight end will be one of the key positions to new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's West Coast offensive attack. How will last year's starter Kyle Brady and backup unrestricted free agent Pete Mitchell fit into the future plans of the Jaguars?

With the number of free agents not signed yet and salary cap issues, it it's more than likely that one of the two tight ends will not be back on the roster for the upcoming 2003 season.

Brady, a seven-year veteran from Penn State, seems like a no-brainer to return. The 6-foot-6, 270 pass-catching specialist was one of the most productive offensive starters last season. Brady is very eager and wants to stay in Jacksonville because he realizes that tight ends are very involved in West Coast offensive system.

The West Coast offense can be very good for the tight end,'' Brady said. ''I didn't get a ton of balls (43 catches for 461 yards) last year. I'd love to get four (catches) a game and I think the West Coast offense is capable of giving me that.''

In the previous seven seasons, Brady has been one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the NFL. During those seven seasons, he racked up over impressive 225 receptions for 2,410 yards and 16 touchdowns.

The downside to keeping Brady is that the fact his salary has the team's fourth-highest cap figure ($5.2 million) and his contract voids after next season. The Jaguars must weigh the $3 million they could save by cutting Brady after June 1 against the $2.2 million in dead money that they'd absorb this year and $1.1 million in 2004. If Brady does return don't be surprised to see his contract restructured.

Unrestricted free agent Pete Mitchell, a seven-year veteran out of Boston College, joined to the Jaguars for the 2001 season after short stop in Detroit where he was cut late in the 2000 season. In Detroit he battled injuries and lackluster performance on the field. He caught five passes for only 29 yards.

Last season, the 6-foot-2 and 245 pounder was a solid backup to starter Kyle Brady. He caught 25 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns.

With head coach Tom Coughlin's departure, (Mitchell's former college head coach) it's unclear of his return.

If the Jaguar brass feels that Brady's salary is too high of price to pay, then Mitchell could be resigned to take over the starting job. He could be signed for a more reasonable price than Brady.

Chris Luzar, who was drafted out of Virginia in last year's college draft, is Jacksonville's third-string tight end. The 6-foot-7 and 270 pound reserve, which will have a 2003 base salary of $300,000, caught one pass for five yards in last year's rookie season.

The Jaguars signed tight end Matt Cerone, who was cut in his rookie season in Minnesota, in January. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Dave Peters Jags Insider.com

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