2011 Free Agent Focus

Matt Spaeth (PIT)

I will preface this by saying that I think the chances of the Patriots acquiring another tight end with Gronk, Hernandez and Crumpler already on the roster are remote at best. However, if they do sign someone, it would likely be a tough blocking TE who could contribute in short-yardage situations. Spaeth was overshadowed by Heath Miller in Pittsburgh, but he’s a serviceable TE in his own right.

Daniel Graham (DEN)

Graham is more valuable as a blocker than as a receiver. He’s also quite familiar with the system as a former Patriot. Because Denver’s incoming coach Jon Fox values good blocking tight ends, I think it’s probably likely that he stays in Denver.

Donte Rosario/Jeff King (CAR)

Carolina signed Jeremy Shockey this offseason to give their young quarterback (whoever that might be) an effective safety valve in the passing game. Rosario and King are both above average run-blockers and were part of the reason for Carolina’s success on the ground the past few seasons. At least one of these two will likely be available and would suit the only available role for another TE in New England.

David Thomas (NO)

Thomas was originally drafted by New England before being traded to the Saints. He played well down the stretch for the Saints in relief of Shockey. He’s an underrated player who could start for a number of teams. If the Saints don’t resign him, he won’t have any trouble finding a new home.

Leonard Pope (KC)

Pope also fits the mold of an adequate pass-catcher whose primary value is as a blocker. He is still young at 27 and would be an effective player in goalline packages.