The Raiders are one of the teams who have their top tight end hitting the free agent market on Tuesday. Brandon Myers was the team's leading receiver last season with 79 catches for 806 yards. But even so, the Raiders look to be letting him become a free agent.
While Myers was Carson Palmer's favorite target, much of that was because he was the relief valve in an otherwise flat offensive attack. While Myers showed surprising hands, he was not good in pass blocking which added to the seemingly constant pressure Palmer faced whenever he dropped back to pass. That is a big reason the Raiders are allowing him to seek his value elsewhere.
Here are the tight ends set to hit the market who would top the Raiders wishlist:
Tony Fasano was teamed with Raiders new offensive line coach, Tony Sparano, the first six of his seven NFL seasons. He started in Dallas where Sparano was the offensive line/assistant head coach and when Sparano went to Miami as head coach, Fasano joined him as his full time starting tight end. I guess you could say these two are goombas. Last season was Fasano's first in the NFL without Sparano and he had a down year. It could have his price tag pretty low and Sparano and Fasano looking to be reunited. Prior to last season, Fasano was routinely among the best tight ends in the NFL. He also excels in blocking which is sorely lacking in Oakland at the tight end position.
Delanie Walker has spent his entire 7-year career in the shadow of Vernon Davis. He is coming off his best season with 21 catches for 344 yards and 3 TD's plus 5 catches for 85 yards in the playoffs with 3 of those catches for 48 yards coming in the Super Bowl itself. He is also a California kid, growing up in Pomona, east of Los Angeles, so it would stand to reason he might want to remain in California and in the Bay Area in particular.
"His role throughout the Jim Harbaugh era has been a guy who you can place almost anywhere on the field," said David Fucillo of Niners Nation. "He has lined up at the traditional tight end spot next to one of the tackles. He has lined up in virtually every wide receiver spot, and the 49ers have even used him in an h-back role in the backfield at times. He is a very solid blocker, and he can make some spectacular catches... but he has not shown enough to indicate he could be the big-time tight end to help carry an offense."
Fred Davis had his breakout season two years ago when he had 796 yards receiving for the Redskins. Unfortunately, last season, he tore an Achilles tendon midway through the year after playing in a more run- heavy offense leading to less receiving opportunities. He is still just hitting his prime and there is no reason he can't recover and get back the form he had in 2011. But he will have to prove it which means he could be affordable to a team like the Raiders.
The Redskins are reportedly interested in re-signing him and yet they have not done so as of yet. In the meantime they have locked up their other free agent tight end, Logan Paulsen, which could mean Davis will hit the market.
"It's anyone's guess how he'll recover from the Achilles injury," said Kevin Ewoldt of Hogs Haven. "Davis was the most targeted WR before his injury and is very well rounded as a TE: decent blocking, good hands, and above average speed."
TE Dustin Keller, 28, Jets -- Keller had his worst season last year but it shouldn't be held up as an indication of the player he is. He was hobbled by a high ankle sprain and a sore hamstring much of the season and also had Mark Sanchez throwing to him. He is just the type of "prove it" player the Raiders have been signing of late as they rebuild.
WR David Nelson, 26, Bills - Yes, Nelson is a wide receiver. But he has many tight end qualities and at 6-5, 217, he makes for a nice big target for any quarterback. He is sneaking under the radar at the moment because he spent nearly the entire 2012 season on injured reserve from a torn ACL. In 2011 Nelson emerged as one of the leading slot receivers in the league finishing seventh overall in terms of slot yardage and added three touchdowns.