With free agency set to begin Wednesday, Redskins.com previews the 2019 NFL free agent class position-by-position. Today's focus continues with the tight ends.
The Redskins enter free agency with five tight ends currently under contract for the 2019 season. Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Jeremy Sprinkle, Matt Flanagan and J.P. Holtz all currently have contracts for this season, although not all of the contracts are guaranteed.
Last season, the tight end group was led by Reed, who played in 13 games and caught 54 passes for 558 yards and two touchdowns last season. Davis has spent the last three seasons with the Redskins and in 2018 he had 25 receptions for 367 yards and two touchdowns. Sprinkle, Flanagan and Holtz were all used for depth, but could have expanded roles in 2019.
Here are some of the top free agents at the position, along with a full list below.
In his first nine NFL seasons, Jared Cook was a good tight end but was never amazing. This past season, in his second year with the Oakland Raiders, Jared Cook was named to his first ever Pro Bowl appearance. He played in all 16 of the Raiders' games this past season, catching 68 passes. On those 68 receptions, he had 896 yards and six touchdowns.
Prior to 2018, Cook had shown flashes of being a Pro Bowl caliber tight end, mainly from 2011 to 2014. In that four-year span, he had 196 receptions for 2,587 yards and 15 touchdowns. Cook spent the first four years of his career on the Tennessee Titans, then three years with the St. Louis Rams. He then spent one season with the Green Bay Packers before spending the last two years in Oakland.
Cook is a receiving tight end, so expect serviceable blocking from him.
Tyler Eifert may be one of the best tight ends in the NFL. Unfortunately, he has had serious injury problems that have kept him from consistently playing. Over his six years with the Cincinnati Bengals, Eifert has only played in 43 games.
Eifert has played in more than eight games in only two of his seasons. In those two seasons, he was one of the better tight ends in the NFL. In 2013, Eifert’s rookie season, he had 39 catches for 445 yards and two touchdowns while starting 15 games. In 2015, Eifert was named to the Pro Bowl after playing in 13 games and getting 52 catches for 615 yards and an impressive 13 touchdowns.
Eifert is an effective receiving tight end, but he also excels in run blocking. When healthy, he was consistently the highest-rated run-blocking tight end on Cincinnati, according to Pro Football Focus.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins had a less than stellar time with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018. He only played in five games and did not show improvement on his run blocking ability. He still showed flashes of the athletic, receiving threat that he is, catching 11 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown.
In 2017, Seferian-Jenkins shined in his limited role as receiving tight end for the New York Jets. Seferian-Jenkins played in 13 games and reeled in 50 catches. He racked up 357 yards and three touchdowns on those 50 receptions. Across his three NFL seasons before that, Seferian-Jenkins had 55 catches for 713 yards and seven touchdowns.
Other notable free agent tight ends: Maxx Williams, Luke Willson, Luke Stocker, James O'Shaugnessy