With Lee Smith headed for free agency and Clive Walford showing little signs he will pan out, the Raiders have Jared Cook and that’s pretty much it. Adding another tight end could be a good idea. And there looks to be a pretty decent market with a few potential nice fits.
A former undrafted free agent out of Harvard, Brate took a couple seasons to break out. As of 2016, the 6-5, 235-pounder was showing up and showing out, averaging over 52 catches, 625 yards, and 7 touchdowns per season the past two years. He has also caught 70% of the passes thrown his way. He’s also well-rounded, doing most things well, including blocking.
Willson won’t ever be accused of being a major receiving threat. He has averaged about 16 catches per season the past three years in Seattle. Oddly the former 5th round pick had better numbers his first couple of seasons, including his rookie season in 2013 when the Seahawks won the Super Bowl.
The 6-5, 254-pounder has played tight end, wide receiver, and fullback at times for the Seahawks, showing his versatility as well as his blocking abilities. Qualities with which Tom Cable is quite familiar as he has had Willson helping with blocking duties for his offensive line throughout his five-year career. That connection could help lure the 27-year-old tight end to Oakland as a complementary tight end to Jared Cook.
There’s no question about Eifert’s talent. The former first round pick is among the best tight ends in the league… when he’s healthy. Which he hasn’t been much in his five-year NFL career. He’s never played a full 16 games and has missed more games (41) than he’s played (39). For that reason, he won’t be signing a long term deal anywhere. Three years ago he put up 615 yards and 13 touchdowns in 13 games and made the Pro Bowl. He and Jared Cook could be a lethal combo if only for one season.
The Lions exercised the 5th year option on the former first rounder after he had his best season in 2016 with 61 catches for 711 yards. But instead of continuing that trend upward, Ebron took a step back in 2017, despite the most targets (86) he’s had in his career. His 53 catches for 574 yards and 4 TD’s is respectable, but the Lions will have to decide if that’s worth his $8.25 million price tag, especially considering cutting him leaves no dead money behind. If he’s cut, he’ll be in demand.