We’re continuing our contract analysis series, this time with tight ends.
Top Free Agents for 2022
Dallas Goedert/PHI: They finally traded Ertz, so Goedert has no one to compete for the ball at the position with him. The team halted contract negotiations for several weeks in August, but if Goedert does well the rest of the way, look for him to try to re-sign him or at least use their franchise tag on him.
Mike Gesicki/MIA: He hasn’t ever been the most reliable pass catcher, but Gesicki might be finally putting it together in the final year of his rookie contract. His upside has always been there and we know he can be streaky, but the team will likely keep him if he continues to put up big numbers.
Rob Gronkowski/TB: He likely will retire once Tom Brady decides to stop playing, which could be after the 2022 season.
Robert Tonyan/GB: He re-signed last March for just 1 season and will be a true unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career this March.
Dalton Schultz/DAL: Once again, the 4th-round pick in 2018 for this team is putting together another good season and even with Jarwin back healthy. It will be an interesting decision for the team to bring Schultz back if he continues to be productive.
C.J. Uzomah/CIN: It’s a WR dominated offense he plays in, but Uzomah, when they don’t ask him to block a lot, has shown that he can get things done.
Mo Alie-Cox/IND: It’s funny how he seems to find himself occasionally uncovered in the endzone. If the team moves on from Doyle after this season, they likely would bring back Alie-Cox and he could potentially start under that scenario.
Zach Ertz/ARI: We know the Cardinals generally use their TEs just as blockers, but Ertz doesn’t really do that well, so it could be that they’re looking at changing the perception of the position going forward? If he does well, Ertz could actually re-sign.
Jared Cook/LAC: The seemingly ageless pass catcher figures to be playing elsewhere next year due to Donald Parham Jr’s emergence and with the drafting of TE Tre McKitty in the 3rd round of this year’s draft.
Ricky Seals-Jones/WFT: He has gone through some maturity issues in his career, but Seals-Jones has proved to be a capable fill-in for injured starter Logan Thomas.
O.J. Howard/TB: When he was drafted in 2017, it was thought that Howard was going to be a steal for them. However, he has been an annual underachiever and nothing that has happened so far this season would likely give them a reason to re-sign Howard.
Gerald Everett/SEA: He signed just a one-year deal and hasn’t done much through the first six weeks. However, he should be a bigger factor once starting QB Russell Wilson gets back from his finger surgery. The team really wanted him, so it would not be surprising to see him re-sign if he finishes the season well.
Evan Engram/NYG: The perennial underachiever once again is injured and it’s likely that he’ll be playing elsewhere next season.
Tyler Conklin/MIN: As one personnel source said recently, Conklin is “sneaky athletic.” When the team drafted him, they thought he would be just a blocker, but he’s getting a chance to be more than that this season due to the Smith jr injury.
Hayden Hurst/ATL: Due to his baseball career, Hurst is actually a little bit older than you might think (turns 29 in late August). We know that Kyle Pitts will be their top guy at the position for years to come, so Hurst, if he wants to start, will play elsewhere next season.
Will Dissly/SEA: When the team drafted him, they thought all he would be was just a blocker. However, before suffering a spate of serious injuries, Dissly actually turned out to be quite a steal for the team as a pass catcher. But since then, he has been pretty quiet on the production end.
Anthony Firkser/TEN: I’m told he’s being asked to block a lot more than expected due to injuries on their OL, which would help to explain his low production so far this season.
Eric Ebron/PIT: Rookie TE Pat Freiermuth will take over as the main player at the position next season at the latest, so Ebron’s days with the team could be over in 2022.
Jordan Akins/HOU: The athletic pass catcher has flashed in his career, but has never been able to put together a consistent run of good game. So it’s likely that he’ll be playing elsewhere next season and this GM didn’t draft him.
Possibly Free in 2022
Austin Hooper/CLE: He’s signed through 2024, but Hooper has no guaranteed money left in his contract past this season and carries a base salary of $9.5m for next season. It would seem hard to justify that salary considering how high the team is on Harrison Bryant.
Jack Doyle/IND: He’s signed through 2022, but Doyle has a $250k roster bonus due in March and he carries a $4.7m non-guaranteed base salary for next season.
Blake Jarwin/DAL: The veteran pass catcher is signed through 2023, but there’s no guaranteed money left in his contract past this season. And with the way Schultz is playing this season, the team may not want to pay Jarwin his $4.5m base salary for 2022.
Possibly Free in 2023
George Kittle/SF: Due to the contract structure, the team can actually get out of his contract after the 2022 season and not owe him anything. He’s signed through 2025, but there’s no guaranteed money left after next season.
Noah Fant/DEN: He has been a slight underachiever and Fant’s rookie deal will expire after the 2022 season.
Dawson Knox/BUF: Our guy will see his contract expire after the 2022 season. Let’s hope his broken hand won’t keep him out long if at all. Knox is what the team has been looking for at TE due to his speed and ability to get down field.
Hunter Henry/NE: Due to contract structure, the team can cut him after the 2022 season and not owe him anything.
Irv Smith Jr/MIN: Smith’s rookie deal expires after the 2022 season concludes. If he can show that he has recovered well from his knee injury, Smith should be able to re-sign with the team before his contract ends.