With the 2020-21 NFL season in the closing stages, select franchises are looking towards the 2021 free agency class in hopes of filling voids of their respective rosters. With that, we will continue our series with the top available tight ends:
Honorable Mentions: Mo Alie-Cox, Vance McDonald
Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Unlikely to depart from his longtime quarterback Tom Brady, Gronkowski kicks off an interest list of upcoming available tight ends. Last season, he started off slow but picked up 623 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. His touchdown total tied Chris Godwin for the second-most on the team, while his yards per catch was 0.9 higher. As stated, Gronkowski is unlikely to seek out what is being offered in free agency, and will likely return to Tampa Bay on a team-friendly deal.
Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints
Having spent the last two seasons with the Saints, Cook is also reaching the final stages of his playing career. During the regular season, he finished with 504 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. These totals were compiled with multiple quarterbacks under center, as Drew Brees was forced to miss time with an ongoing injury. Cook has been apart of five NFL franchises to this point, but has accounted for 16 touchdowns during his tenure in New Orleans.
Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams
Reaching the end of his respective contract, Everett could be a bargain name for someone in free agency. He finished last season 417 receiving yards and a touchdown, which clearly doesn’t stand out. However, he is regarded as one of the best pass-blocking tight ends in the NFL. His PFF grade of 75 ranked sixth among 61 tight ends with at least 20 pass protection snaps.
Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans
It was a standout season for Jonnu Smith, who totaled five touchdowns in his first four games of the campaign. He finished the year with 448 receiving yards and eight touchdowns, proving to be a serviceable addition to any suitors this offseason. Sources have speculated whether the Jacksonville Jaguars or New England Patriots could show interest in free agency. Either way, the Titans may find themselves in a bidding war for the 25-year old.
Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
At the top of the tight end market, 26-year old Hunter Henry will be available. He finished last season with 613 receiving yards and four touchdowns on a career-high 93 targets. His catch percentage has remained above 64% in each of his first four seasons, and he has 21 career scores. The former second round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft will be worth a payday for any offense seeking a distinct advantage.
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