By Connor Thomas

 

We finished off last week with a look at the main pass catching free agent targets the Eagles should be looking at to fill out their wide receiver room with, but Philly has long been home to some outstanding tight end play. With Zach Ertz no longer with the team and Dallas Goedert now firmly entrenched as the starter, there is some depth at the position that needs to be added. Here’s a look at some available guys that could help there:

  • Robert Tonyan

    Tonyan had a regression year in 2021, which is somewhat surprising considering how good Aaron Rodgers was in Green Bay, but his 2020 season is what should really intrigue. He hauled in 11 TDs in his breakout campaign 2 years ago, which tied Travis Kelce for the most at the position that season. His drop off this year certainly cuts into the pay day that the 27 year old seemed to be headed towards after that 2020 effort, which means that he could be a top end option to split time with Goedert. He made $3.3mil this past season, so if the Eagles can get him for around that number it would probably be the highest cost they consider, but might also be their best value.

  • Jimmy Graham

    Graham is ancient in football years at 35, and he was paid WAY too much in Chicago this past year at $8mil. Let’s do some free agency math: aging player + expensive contract last season + underperformance = much cheaper short term deal the next season. That should certainly be the case with Graham, who will be entering his 13th NFL season in 2022. He hasn’t cleared the 60 receptions mark in a season since 2016, so the production is clearly diminished compared to his prime, but he did have 8 TDs in 2020 in Chicago, showing that there’s still flashes of the dominant player he was back in New Orleans. He’s not a strong blocker, but as a pass catcher, Graham is intriguing for the right (cheap) price.

  • Tyler Conklin

    Conklin stepped in to the starting tight end role in Minnesota last year in replacement of Kyle Rudolph, who took off for the New York Giants in free agency last offseason. He wasn’t bad; he had the 3rd most receptions on the Vikings this past season with 61, trailing only Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. That being said, he’s set to hit free agency at just 26 years old and after making only $685k last year. Even if he doubles his AAV from this past year, (which is possible) getting Conklin for about $1.3mil would be a nice investment in a young player to pair with Goedert and develop a new 12 personnel combo.

  • OJ Howard

    The OJ Howard situation is very complicated. He was drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft at pick #19, looking like a sure fire dominant NFL tight end. Cut to this past year, and he was the 3rd option in Tampa Bay at the position behind Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate. If Tom Brady does indeed retire, maybe Howard will want to bounce from the Bucs to another proven QB situation. If Rob Gronkowski retires, maybe Howard will take a team friendly deal to stay in Tampa. There are a lot of moving pieces with the aging Bucs roster, but what isn’t up for debate is Howard’s raw ability. He hasn’t really ever turned it into NFL production, but that makes him cheap, especially considering he was a 1st round pick just 5 years ago. It depends on a lot, but the Eagles should at least give Howard a look.

  • Zach Ertz

    I couldn’t make this list without including Ertz, who is officially a free agent this offseason after being traded mid-year to the Arizona Cardinals. He looked resurgent in Arizona compared to what he was in Philly at the start of this season, so it’s very possible that the Cardinals bring him back on a one year deal. That being said, everyone knows how Ertz and his family feel about the city of Philadelphia. There is certainly still love there, and even though it’s not all that likely that the Eagles and Ertz have a reunion, maybe Howie… or someone other than Howie, should give ole #86 a call and just see how he’s doing.