Tight End #1: Greg Olsen
The Carolina Panthers acquired Greg Olsen from the Chicago Bears for a third round pick prior to the 2011 season. It is safe to say that trade has been a steal for the Panthers as Olsen has improved every season and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time last year.
He finished last year with team highs in receptions (84), receiving yards (1,008) and first downs (56) and second in touchdowns (six). As a Panther he has season averages of 67.75 receptions, 106.25 targets, 801.75 receiving yards and 5.5 touchdowns.
Olsen has become a key part of this offense for some time now. The Panthers made sure it stays that way, offering a three-year contract extension that will keep Olsen with the team through the 2018 season.
Tight End #2: Ed Dickson
The former Oregon Duck joined the Panthers last offseason after four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. Dickson saw limited time for a majority of the season and finished the year with 13 receptions and 182 receiving yards. However six of those receptions and 116 yards came in the final two regular season games and the two playoff games.
The Panthers saw enough in that limited time to bring him back with a three-year contract. This was the only contract offered by the Panthers this offseason to a free agent that was over two years. Dickson has proven he can be a reliable pass catching tight end and in 2011 with the Ravens had 54 receptions, 528 yards and five touchdowns.
The combination of Dickson and Olsen in two tight end sets should give opposing defenses trouble with both able to stretch the field down the middle.
Tight End #3: Brandon Williams
The Panthers also have another tight end from the University of Oregon in Brandon Williams. He is an athletic tight end but didn’t have much time to shine last year with Olsen and Dickson on the roster. He finished the year with four receptions, eight targets and only 44 yards.
The thing Panthers’ fans may remember Williams most for was the fact that he was the player thrown out against the New Orleans Saints for his involvement in the fight after Newton’s touchdown. As long as Olsen and Dickson stay healthy, there won’t be much playing time available for Williams.
Tight End #4: Richie Brockel
On the Panthers roster, Richie Brockel is listed as a tight end but he is primarily a fullback. He saw limited action last year before ending up on the season-ending IR with an ankle injury. The Panthers’ backfield struggled last year due in large part to injuries and poor offensive line play early in the season. A lead blocker like Brockel certainly could have helped here and it will be interesting to see if he is able to stick on the Panthers’ 53-man roster in 2015.
Rest of the Tight Ends
The Panthers currently have two other players on the roster right now with Scott Simonson and Jamie Childers.
The team signed Simonson after he was released by the Oakland Raiders at the beginning of June. He spent last season on the Raiders’ practice squad.
Jamie Childers was signed by the team after their rookie mini-camp and he has bounced around the NFL a bit. The former Coastal Carolina quarterback transitioned to tight end and has spent time with the St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, and Buffalo Bills. He has yet to make a regular season roster.
Brandon Croce is the Lead Publisher for PantherInsider.com. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonCroce.