LWOSports takes a look at each offensive position, highlighting the top three free agents available at each position.
Find our other top 3 free agents by position:
1.) Martellus Bennett
2016 team: New England Patriots
The Patriots acquired Martellus Bennett last off-season for a fourth round draft pick. The talented tight end is now due to hit free agency and could be expected to have a plethora of potential suitors. Bennett is a phenomenal pass catcher and is even better at staying in and blocking. He has proven to be a one of the best receiving tight ends, although Bennett never topped 1,000 receiving yards in a season, . Bennett has caught at least 55 balls for 700 yards and five touchdowns every year since 2013, besides 2015 when he only played 11 games. The 6’6″, 275 pound tight end would be a huge asset to any offense.
Best Fit: New York Giants
Already set with Odell Beckham, Jr. and Sterling Shepard lining up at wide receiver, the Giants offense would benefit immensely from a reunion with Martellus Bennett. Ever since Bennett’s breakout year in the Big Apple in 2013, the Giants have lacked a legitimate threat a tight end. Martellus Bennett’s superb route running and receiving skills would give the Giants passing game another threat, in addition to a consistent red zone target that they have been searching for. Perhaps the most important, yet subtle, skill that Bennett would bring to New York’s offense is his ability to block. Having a tight end like Bennett to run block would help the run game tremendously, as well as aid the Giants ability to properly execute the play action. Overall, Martellus Bennett has to be atop the Giants list of must adds this offseason.
2.) Jared Cook
2016 team: Green Bay Packers
Last off-season Jared Cook signed a one year deal with the Packers worth $2.75 million, plus incentives. The Packers brought in Jared Cook to be the threat at tight end the Packers have missed since Jermichael Finley in 2012. Even though he missed six games this year and posted a rather pedestrian stat line, Cook really started to get it going late in the year. In six games, from week 15 to the NFC Championship game, Jared Cook totaled 31 catches for 407 yards and three touchdowns – adding in a few clutch grabs along the way.
Best Fit: Green Bay Packers
Despite Cook’s stellar six week run, it is not enough to attract other potential buyers, after all he did it with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. Not every team has a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers. Also, it is doubtful that Jared Cook will want to depart Green Bay regardless. Over his entire career, Cook has never played with a quarterback of Aaron Rodgers’ caliber. It helps that Rodgers, himself, said that Jared Cook “needs to be near the top of the priority list”, in regards to the Packers offseason. In addition, the Packers will want to keep Cook based off the fact that he will likely carry a low price tag in free agency.
3.) Jordan Cameron
2016 team: Miami Dolphins
Jordan Cameron bursted onto the scene in 2013 while playing for the Cleveland Browns. The tight end caught 80 balls for 917 yards and seven touchdowns in fifteen games for Cleveland that year. Unfortunately, the tight end has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career as he played a full season only once. Cameron left the Browns following the 2014 season and took his talents to South Beach. Since joining the Dolphins, Jordan Cameron has not performed well. He has a mere 43 catches for 446 yards in nineteen games played during his two year stint with Miami. Cameron has played only three games this season before being placed on injured-reserve after he suffered his fourth concussion in his career. Many people believe that the tight end will retire due to his concussion history, but Cameron stated, “Everyone’s counting me out — he’s done, he’s retiring. No, I’m not.”
Best Fit: New England Patriots
In the event the Patriots lose Martellus Bennett in free agency, one can look at Jordan Cameron as a viable replacement. Cameron has shown in the past that he is more than capable of being a successful tight end in both facets of the game. He is a talented pass catcher and a more than capable blocker as well, which the Patriots value in their two tight end sets. Cameron would also be a low cost addition and could easily match Martellus Bennett’s production this year. That is, if Jordan Cameron can stay healthy. The Patriots have taken risks with free agents before. With Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in New England, it would not astonish me to see Jordan Cameron’s career revived in New England.