John Carlson’s sudden retirement this week leaves the Arizona Cardinals searching for a new addition to tight end
You knew he wouldn’t be here forever but you have to believe that the Arizona Cardinals were counting on tight end John Carlson being around for at least the 2015 season. After the last weekend’s draft, which did see the Cardinals pick a tight end with the last pick, Carlson retired earlier this past week.
That leaves the Cardinals with all of nine regular-season NFL games played of experience at the position. It is a position that has severely under performed for quite some time. Rob Housler left via free agency then Carlson’s retirement leaves Darren Fells and Troy Niklas as the top two tight ends.
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Fells and Niklas are still both works in progress. Niklas, whose rookie 2014 season was cut short by injury, is known more for his blocking than receiving. The Cardinals do want to see him do both well though.
Gerald Christian out of Louisville was the last man picked in the entire 2015 NFL Draft. He could work out in the end but for now if he makes the team it would be as a backup at best. So where does that leave the Cardinals at tight end?
I’ve seen some names fly around the rumor mill this week. One in particular I liked was Jermaine Gresham. Gresham’s number over the last five seasons are better than all the tight ends the Cardinals have had combined. Yet I still see him as being under-utilized by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Gresham since 2010 has 280 receptions for 2,722 yards and 24 touchdowns. If you take out 2010, he still has 20 touchdowns since 2011. Housler was drafted in 2011 and he managed one touchdown over that same time span.
Another player’s name being thrown around is Zach Miller. Miller, who is from Phoenix and went to Arizona State, has played eight seasons in the NFL. He has 328 receptions for 3,804 yards and 20 touchdowns with the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks. He only played in three games for the Seahawks last season though.
I don’t think the Cardinals could go wrong with either guy but if I had a choice between the two, Gresham is the more attractive player. He’s younger. Miller has more experience by a few years. Either one would be a huge upgrade though over what they both currently have and have had over the past several seasons.