With Austin Hooper’s exit seeming inevitable at this point, the Falcons are looking very thin at tight end. I’m in the camp that believes Atlanta should cut Luke Stocker and continue developing the promising Jaeden Graham, who finished 2019 with nine catches for 149 yards and a score. Regardless if it comes in the form of a free agent or a draft pick, this team is going to have to come up with an outside solution at the tight end position. I like Eric Ebron as an option, but I don’t consider him “low cost”.
The Wyoming product and former Seahawk/Patriot has had a quiet career, but he had a couple of impressive games in Seattle, including a game-winning TD (his 2nd of the game) and an explosive eight catches for 62 yards against San Francisco; both after Will Dissly went down. Hollister would be a prototypical “lightning in a bottle candidate,” but I think — at the right price — he could be a great addition.
The first of two guys I will mention that has been plagued by injuries (I’m sure you know who the second one will be), Eifert had an elite 2015 season, hauling in 13 TDs on 52 receptions. He earned his only Pro Bowl nod and looked like he was on his way to stardom. However, Eifert has only played in 59 out of 112 possible games (only 36 starts). I like Eifert’s game a lot, he’s 6’6″ and can go up and get the ball. He’s coming off a one year “prove it” deal, and I expect him to get another this offseason. If Eifert doesn’t prove it, his time in the NFL might be finished.
Jarwin has had a quiet career, but he did notch three of his six career TDs this past season. With Dallas being as cap-strapped as they are, he could be a very cheap body to bring into camp with a decent amount of upside. He has appeared in every game over the past two seasons, so the availability has been there.
The former five-star monster wide receiver and Texas A&M product, Seals-Jones went undrafted but has had some spurts of success in the NFL. In 2017 for Arizona, he snagged three touchdowns over the span of two games. In 2019 he notched two TDs in the same game against those same Cardinals. Seals-Jones was always the guy people stashed in fantasy football expecting a breakout. It never came, but he would get every opportunity in Atlanta.
After grabbing a career-high 7 TDs (and torturing the Falcons) in 2019, Fells might not be as cheap as some might think. I like Fells a lot, he’s 33, but he’s 6’7″ and has been around the league for a while. He’s only got 17 career TDs, but at the right price, he’d thrive in this Falcons offense.
Here’s injury guy #2 I was talking about. Look, Jordan Reed needs to retire. I think he’s supremely talented, but he has enough concussions for three NFL Careers. The former Florida QB is a seven-year vet but has missed 42% of his NFL games. He’s been in concussion protocol since a preseason hit by Keanu Neal. However, if Reed does decide to keep playing, he did have 11 TDs in 14 games in 2015 and could still contribute. Washington already handed him a five-year, $46.75 million contract, so he should be open to a “prove it” deal.
Luke has been around the block, playing in 94 career games but having very little impact in 2019. He’s a seasoned vet, and I still think he’s a slight upgrade over Stocker.
Speaking of guys who have been around the league, the always reliable Charles Clay has played in 127 games over his nine-year career. Clay’s been super consistent but has seen a slight dip recently, only catching one TD over the past two seasons. He still has a career total of 24 and would immediately become the best tight end on this roster. He’s never played less than 13 games in a season.
McDonald has a respectable 15 career TDs and seven over his past few seasons. He has a lot of experience blocking in a run-heavy Pittsburgh scheme and has only missed 16 games since 2015. McDonald also has a 69% catch rate over the past two seasons. He would be a quality addition.
Walford is probably the least productive name on this list and has fallen off drastically over the past few seasons. However, in 2015 & 2016, he played in every game except two and hauled in 61 catches for 6 TDs. Walford could be a solid guy on a league minimum salary.