Even after selecting Kyle Pitts fourth overall in 2021, the Falcons are going into 2022 with a very thin tight end room. Hayden Hurst and Jaeden Graham are free agents, and Lee Smith has retired. Regardless, Arthur Smith loves his tight ends, and I have no doubt he’s going to look to add multiple names. If you want to see previous editions of this series, they are linked below:
- Free Agent Big Board for the Falcons: Quarterbacks
- Free Agent Big Board for the Falcons: Running Backs
- Free Agent Big Board for the Falcons: Wide Receiver
12. Jimmy Graham – Chicago Bears
While Graham isn’t the X-factor he used to be on the field, I think he still has a few good years of football left. Graham is a massive red zone threat, and although he isn’t much of a run blocker, he could still be a difference maker in Atlanta. There’s also the connection to GM Terry Fontenot, since Fontenot spent 18 years as a scout and then assistant general manager for the Saints.
11. Gerald Everett – Seattle Seahawks
The former LA Ram turned Seahawk is more of a pass catching threat than a run blocker, and while he had a decent 2021 season, it wasn’t what a lot of people expected on a prove-it deal. He would make for a good cheap option to take attention off of Kyle Pitts in passing downs.
10. Hayden Hurst – Atlanta Falcons
Even though the Falcons turned down Hurst’s fifth-year option, there’s still a possibility they bring him back. However, Hurst didn’t thrive in Arthur Smith’s offense as some expected, but if there’s mutual interest in a return and Hurst isn’t asking for too much—I don’t see the harm.
9. Zach Ertz – Arizona Cardinals
While Ertz isn’t the dynamic player he used to be, he’s still a threat that has to be accounted for at all times. He would make a nice veteran pickup on a prove-it deal, and there’s no doubt he could teach Kyle Pitts a thing or two in an offense that’s stacked at the tight end position.
8. Anthony Firkser – Tennessee Titans
Firkser obviously has some history with Arthur Smith, and his ability to serve as a utility blocker could lead to a reunion with his former coach. 2020 was the best season of Firkser’s career in terms of targets, which could draw him to Atlanta.
7. David Njoku – Cleveland Browns
David Njoku is an athletic freak, and although I doubt he wants to share targets with another tight end like he did with former Falcon Austin Hooper, he and Kyle Pitts would make an incredibly dangerous vertical combo.
6. MyCole Pruitt – Tennessee Titans
Pruitt suffered a terrible ankle injury in January, but he does have a history with Arthur Smith and accounted for three scores this past season. Pruitt’s a decent blocker, and if healthy, he makes a ton of sense for Atlanta.
5. O. J. Howard – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
All eyes in Tampa Bay are on Tom Brady, but O. J. Howard is another name worth watching. Howard never truly lived up to the hype, but I think he could be a force in Atlanta’s offense with his athletic gifts. He may want to play on a team that’s set up to allow him to be a true TE1, but I’d take him in Atlanta any day if the price is right.
4. C.J. Uzomah – Cincinnati Bengals
I don’t think the Falcons will be able to afford Uzomah, nor do I think the Bengals will let him go. Uzomah has become one of Joe Burrow’s favorite targets, and his ability to stretch the field is something that should appeal to Atlanta. If he becomes available, he makes a ton of sense for the right price.
3. Maxx Williams – Arizona Cardinals
Williams is a former teammate of Hayden Hurst, and Williams was known as a much better blocker than Hurst. He would make an excellent road grader and TE2, filling the void left by Lee Smith’s retirement.
2. Robert Tonyan Jr. – Green Bay Packers
Tonyan went crazy in 2020, going off for 11 touchdowns and 52 receptions. He battled injuries in 2021 and didn’t put up close to the same production, but I love him on a prove-it deal to be a reserve tight end for the Falcons. He’s a tenacious run blocker and can make plays in the red zone, something that should appeal to Arthur Smith.
1. Mo Alie-Cox – Indianapolis Colts
Let’s try this again, shall we? I wanted Alie-Cox last offseason for his jump-ball ability and elite blocking skills from the tight end position. Obviously the Colts saw the same thing I did, as they tendered him as a restricted free agent. MAC finished 2021 with a career-high four touchdowns, and he opened a lot of running lanes for Jonathan Taylor. He would be a perfect fit for the Falcons, as both an upgrade over their previous TE2s and a player who won’t break the bank.