Jacob Tamme

Jacob Tamme Announces Retirement

Jacob Tamme had not played in a game in just more than a year, and the longtime tight end is not planning to suit up for one again.

The former Colts, Broncos and Falcons pass-catcher announced his retirement on Thanksgiving, doing so after playing nine seasons. Tamme made a lengthy social media announcement, thanking numerous parties (Twitter links).

Tamme suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in November of last season, and while he had designs on returning for a possible 10th season earlier this year, nothing came to fruition. The 32-year-old performer will retire with 259 receptions, 2,570 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.

Splitting his career between upper-echelon backup (to Dallas Clark and Julius Thomas) and starter, Tamme had three seasons of 550-plus receiving yards.

A fourth-round Colts pick out of Kentucky in 2008, Tamme emerged on the scene with a 631-yard showing in relief of Clark in 2010 and was the top receiving tight end on Peyton Manning‘s first Broncos team in 2012. His best statistical work, however, came in his age-30 season with the Falcons. Tamme caught 59 passes for 657 yards in 2015. The shoulder ailment limited him to eight games in 2016.

Tamme also played in two Super Bowls, with the ’09 Colts and ’13 Broncos.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Offense

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Quarterback:

  1. Jay Cutler
  2. Chase Daniel
  3. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  4. Colin Kaepernick
  5. Josh McCown
  6. Robert Griffin III
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Christian Ponder
  11. Blaine Gabbert
  12. Ryan Nassib
  13. Shaun Hill
  14. Kellen Moore
  15. Austin Davis

Tony Romo is not a free agent…at least not yet. If the Cowboys do not find a suitable trade and release him, you’ll find him at the top of this list.

Laugh if you must, but Cutler is far and away the best quarterback available on the open market. While most of this year’s QB-needy teams are done with their free agent shopping, the Jets are still searching for their 2017 starter and no one would make more sense for them than Cutler. He’s not all that far removed from playing solid football and he’s a logical transitional option for the Jets until they can isolate a better, younger option for 2018. Jay Cutler (Vertical)

Kaepernick’s reps wisely told the press that he will be standing for the National Anthem this year. Still, Kaepernick is an outspoken guy who wants to use his platform to discuss hot button issues, so there’s no guarantee that the media circus around him will cease. Jets owner Woody Johnson loves seeing his team on the back pages of the New York tabloids, but even he has to have more sense than to entertain Kaepernick. McCown, who has been contact with the team, would be an okay choice if they can’t get something done with Cutler. Chase Daniel could be an option too, but there isn’t much game film on him.

Needless to say, the No. 3 ranked player on this list isn’t an option in New York.

Running back:

  1. Adrian Peterson
  2. LeGarrette Blount
  3. Jamaal Charles
  4. Rashad Jennings
  5. Tim Hightower
  6. DeAngelo Williams
  7. Chris Johnson
  8. Christine Michael
  9. Benny Cunningham
  10. Bobby Rainey
  11. Brandon Bolden
  12. Denard Robinson
  13. James Starks
  14. Matt Asiata
  15. Kenjon Barner

Honorable mention: DuJuan Harris, Antonio AndrewsKhiry Robinson

Adrian Peterson (vertical)The Vikings have moved on and Peterson will not be back in Minnesota. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess. When Peterson’s option was declined by the Vikings earlier this month, there were tons of stories (likely sourced by Peterson’s camp) about interest from a litany of contenders. Since then, each team – through anonymous sources – has denied being in the mix for the veteran. It would be easy to doubt Peterson at this juncture, but he has come back from serious injuries multiple times in his career and he is only one year removed from his stellar 2015 campaign. He gets the top spot over the bruising Blount as well as Charles, who hasn’t been healthy in a long while.

Jennings was brought to New York with the idea that he would be the team’s workhorse. Unfortunately, two of his three seasons with the G-Men were marred by injury. Jennings is currently putting his agility to good use on Dancing With The Stars and it remains to be seen how committed he is to football. After that, we have a trio of vets (Hightower, Williams, CJ2K) who could still advance the ball in limited spurts.

In case you’re wondering – Mike Gillislee is not listed here because he is a restricted free agent.

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Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Offense

NFL free agency is right around the corner! The legal tampering period starts on Tuesday and free agency officially starts on Thursday. The list of available free agents will change between now and then as players re-sign with teams or get cut loose, but we have a pretty good idea of who will be available right now. After looking at the top defensive players, we now shift our attention to the other side of the ball.

Here are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each position. The rankings aren’t determined by earning power, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with a combination of short- and long-term value taken into account. You won’t find restricted free agents or franchise tagged guys here since they are unlikely to go leave their current clubs.

Player evaluation is always subjective, so we encourage you to make your voices heard in the comments section in cases where you disagree with us.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Updated 3-7-2017, 2:55pm CT

Quarterback:

  1. Mike Glennon
  2. Nick Foles
  3. Brian Hoyer (story)
  4. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  5. Colin Kaepernick
  6. Josh McCown
  7. Case Keenum
  8. Matt McGloin
  9. Mark Sanchez
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Christian Ponder
  12. Blaine Gabbert
  13. Geno Smith
  14. Matt Schaub (story)
  15. EJ Manuel

Honorable mention: Ryan Nassib, Landry JonesShaun Hill Mike Glennon (vertical)

Colin Kaepernick’s agents have (wisely) let everyone know that their client will stand for the National Anthem in 2017. That may seem like a minor point, but teams say they would have automatically removed him from consideration if he continued his attention-grabbing protest. He grabbed headlines for his actions on the sidelines last year, but he actually turned in an OK season. From a football standpoint, Kaepernick would make sense for a lot of teams as a QB2 with upside.

Interestingly, this list includes three quarterbacks who couldn’t cut it as the Jets’ starter and three rejects from the 49ers. They say that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all six of those players (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kaepernick, Mark Sanchez, Geno Smith, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert) come with varying degrees of potential and proven effectiveness. Smith, somehow, could reportedly be retained by the Jets and installed as the starter in 2017.

Ryan Nassib is just outside of the top 15 here with EJ Manuel getting the final spot. Despite positive word about his play in practice, Nassib is unproven and the Giants’ apparent lack of interest in re-signing him says a lot. It’s also possible that he might not be 100% after ending the 2016 season on IR with an elbow injury. Manuel, for all his warts, has shown potential in small bursts.

Running back:

  1. Eddie Lacy
  2. Adrian Peterson
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Jamaal Charles
  6. Darren McFadden
  7. Jacquizz Rodgers
  8. Rex Burkhead
  9. Rashad Jennings
  10. Danny Woodhead
  11. Tim Hightower
  12. DeAngelo Williams
  13. Andre Ellington
  14. Chris Johnson
  15. Christine Michael

Honorable mention: Robert Turbin, Travaris Cadet, Benny Cunningham, Lance Dunbar, Bobby Rainey, Brandon BoldenDenard Robinson, James Starks

Adrian Peterson (vertical)As expected, the Vikings have cut Adrian Peterson loose and he is expected to garner interest from contending clubs this week. Some might peg Peterson as the most talented running back in this year’s free agent class, but it all comes down to how you weigh his age and injury history. Peterson has shocked the football world in the past with an incredible comeback, but I’m a little skeptical of his ability to do it again in his age-32 season. Eddie Lacy, who has injury question marks of his own, takes the top spot at the position.

The Patriots believe they won’t be able to match the offers that come in LeGarrette Blount‘s direction. Latavius Murray could circle back to the Raiders, but he won’t be agreeing to a deal with them before free agency opens on Thursday.

Jamaal Charles has the most impressive resume of anyone on this list, with the exception of Peterson. However, no one knows exactly what he can do after playing eight games in the last two years. He’ll turn 31 in December and that’s usually not an indicator of success for running backs.

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FA Rumors: Pats, Jefferson, Jags, Falcons

Free agency officially opens on March 9, so let’s round up a few FA-related notes and rumors from around the league:

  • Although it is difficult, as usual, to pin down the Patriots‘ free agency plans, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe does his best, writing that the club is “taking a long look” at the tight end position but that Martellus Bennett could certainly be back, that the team is in the defensive end market now that Chris Long is gone and Jabaal Sheard appears unlikely to return, and that Logan Ryan is likely to price himself out of the Patriots’ price range. Volin names the Jaguars and Raiders as two teams with serious interest in Bennett.
  • Speaking of the Jaguars, the club is expected to let Tyson Alualu hit the open market, as Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union writes.
  • In a separate piece, O’Halloran lists the Jaguars‘ most pressing needs in free agency and examines how they could address those needs with an aggressive approach or with a more disciplined approach. He predicts that the Jags will land this year’s top FA cornerback, A.J. Bouye, if Bouye does not re-sign with Houston.
  • Jason Cole of Bleacher Report, citing an agent who represents a FA safety, says that the CardinalsTony Jefferson can expect to land a contract that will pay him $7MM per year (Twitter link). Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, though, tweets that Jefferson is likely to get paid closer to $10MM per year.
  • D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that the Falcons, who are moving towards an extension for Desmond Trufant, want to re-sign tight end Levine Toilolo, safety/linebacker Kemal Ishmael, and fullback Patrick DiMarco before free agency opens. The team is expected to let Jacob Tamme hit free agency and to wait until after the draft to make a decision on Dwight Freeney. Atlanta is also waiting to hear back from guard Chris Chester, who is contemplating retirement.
  • The Falcons plan to upgrade their defensive front in free agency and the draft, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com writes. The club is expected to re-sign Courtney Upshaw, and McClure names Cowboys’ DT Terrell McClain as one potential target for Atlanta.
  • Mike Klis of 9News.com writes that the Broncos are seeking help on both the offensive and defensive line in free agency, but he observes that the club may be operating with two budgets: one that includes Tony Romo, and one that doesn’t. Even if Denver does not land the long-time Cowboys signal-caller, Klis says the Broncos will have to manage the cap creatively, as they have a number of housekeeping moves to make that will eat into their $35MM of cap room, and offensive and defensive linemen do not come cheap on the open market.

Top 2017 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense

[UPDATE: CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST EDITION OF THE TOP 2017 NFL FREE AGENTS BY POSITION]

NFL free agency will get underway on Thursday, March 9th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. We’ll start today on offense, before getting to defense and special teams later this week.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each offensive position. The rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts that each player is expected to land in free agency, they are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account. Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents are not listed here since they are unlikely to actually reach the open market.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some guys than you are, so we encourage you to make your voice heard in our comments section to let us know which free agents we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by offensive position for 2017:

Quarterback:

  1. Kirk Cousins
  2. Mike Glennon
  3. Nick Foles
  4. Brian Hoyer
  5. Ryan Fitzpatrick
  6. Case Keenum
  7. Matt McGloin
  8. Mark Sanchez
  9. Geno Smith
  10. Ryan Mallett
  11. Josh McCown
  12. Christian Ponder
  13. Blaine Gabbert
  14. Matt Schaub
  15. Ryan Nassib

Honorable mention: Shaun Hill

As of this writing, Kirk Cousins is far and away the best potential free agent quarterback in this year’s crop. By the time March gets here, we’re fully expecting Cousins to be spoken for. Ultimately, the Redskins could franchise tag him, work out a long-term deal with him, or swing some type of trade that nets them a massive haul of talent and picks. That will leave a crop of retread quarterbacks that would probably best serve as transitional options for QB-needy teams. Kirk Cousins

Mike Glennon hasn’t done much in his 18 career starts, but talent evaluators are still in love with his size and potential. The 6’7″ quarterback will get more money this spring than you might expect, particularly since there are no surefire QBs in this year’s draft.

Teams looking for stopgap QBs will find a plethora of experienced, though perhaps uninspiring, signal callers. Nick Foles, Brian Hoyer, and Ryan Fitzpatrick all have their best football behind them, but they could hold down the fort for a team in 2017 and maybe even find some success if the defense is strong enough. Of course, the ideal role for those guys would probably be as a backup to a better, younger quarterback.

Running back:

  1. Le’Veon Bell
  2. Eddie Lacy
  3. LeGarrette Blount
  4. Latavius Murray
  5. Darren McFadden
  6. Jacquizz Rodgers
  7. Rashad Jennings
  8. Danny Woodhead
  9. Rex Burkhead
  10. Tim Hightower
  11. DeAngelo Williams
  12. Andre Ellington
  13. Chris Johnson
  14. Christine Michael
  15. Robert Turbin

Consider Le’Veon Bell‘s name written in Etch-A-Sketch, because he is very unlikely to get near the open market. That could leave Eddie Lacy as the best tailback available in March. Lacy has struggled with weight issues in recent years and he lost much of the 2016 season to injury. Still, he is a bruising back that could nicely complement a quicker ball carrier. Before he was shut down for the year, Lacy was averaging 5.07 yards per carry in five games for Green Bay.

LeGarrette Blount (vertical)In the last two years, LeGarrette Blount seems to have put his off-the-field troubles behind him. Whether that’s a sign of his maturity or a product of the Patriots’ culture remains to be seen. Teams can ignore his past indiscretions, but they will be wary of his age. Blount turns 31 in December.

Latavius Murray has shown glimpses of being a special running back, but he has been inconsistent and his 4.0 yards-per-carry average of the last two years isn’t overly impressive. Darren McFadden ran for more than 1,000 yards in 2015, but 2016 was pretty much a lost year for him. Jacquizz Rodgers seemed to break out last year, but he wound up succumbing to the same injury bug that took down a host of other Buccaneers running backs. Speaking of injuries, Rashad Jennings was initially brought to the Giants to be a workhorse back, but two of his three years in New York were marred by ailments. Everyone in this tier has the potential to make a difference, but none should be counted on as anyone’s main guy in 2017.

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Jacob Tamme Wants To Return To Falcons; 49ers In Play

Jacob Tamme, who was an important piece of the Falcons’ league-leading offense in 2016 before his season was cut short by a shoulder injury, is one of 17 Falcons eligible for unrestricted free agency this offseason. Tamme posted a career-high 657 receiving yards in 2015, his first year in Atlanta, and he was the Falcons’ leading receiver after the first three games of 2016, with 14 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown.

Jacob Tamme (vertical)

He is roughly three months into his recovery for the shoulder surgery that he underwent in November, a process that is expected to take another two or three months. But despite the injury, and despite the fact that he will turn 32 on March 15, there will be some competition for his services. Indeed, it is difficult to see the Colts allowing Jack Doyle to depart in free agency, and outside of Doyle and Martellus Bennett –whom the Patriots will likely do their best to retain — this year’s tight end market is fairly thin.

As Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com writes, Tamme would like to stay in Atlanta. Tamme said, “I love being a Falcon, love my teammates, love what we have going on here in this organization. I’m interested to see what the future holds.”

GM Thomas Dimitroff has said the Falcons’ primary objective is locking up their own players, and Tamme is surely a player that Dimitroff would like to have back. The team did select Austin Hooper in the third-round of the 2016 draft, and Hooper showed some promise as the season wore on, including a touchdown grab in the Super Bowl. But the tight end depth chart is currently pretty bare beyond the youthful Hooper, as Levine Toilolo is also set to become an unrestricted free agent (though it should be noted that the Falcons do have hope for Joshua Perkins, a 2016 UDFA who played for new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian when Sarkisian was at the University of Washington). Given Tamme’s experience and his apparent rapport with Matt Ryan, the Falcons would probably be wise to re-sign him.

But if they don’t, McClure’s sources indicate that the 49ers could be in play for the Kentucky product. Of course, former Falcons’ OC Kyle Shanahan is now the head coach in San Francisco, and per McClure, Shanahan would love to have a cerebral player such as Tamme on board to help implement his offense, even though the 49ers just signed tight end Vance McDonald to a five-year contract extension in December.

Tamme first made a name for himself as a favored receiver in Peyton Manning‘s Colts offense. Later, he reunited with Manning on the Broncos, but he saw his role reduced as he battled for playing time with Julius Thomas and Virgil Green. He signed a two-year, $3.2MM base value deal with the Falcons before the 2015 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Place Jacob Tamme On IR

Falcons tight end Jacob Tamme is done for the season. Tamme announced this morning that he underwent an operation on his shoulder that will rule him out for the rest of the year. The Falcons formally placed him on IR on Monday. The 31-year-old tight end faces a lengthy recovery from this shoulder setback."<strong

Unfortunately I had to have season-ending surgery this morning. Thank you to everyone who has been praying and sending support. I love our team, so this situation brings great disappointment,” Tamme tweeted. “But this is my [first] surgery in [nine years]. I feel very blessed.”

With Tamme out, the Falcons will lean more on Levine Toilolo and third-round pick Austin Hooper. Behind them will be UDFA Joshua Perkins.

Tamme’s season ends with 22 catches for 210 yards and three touchdowns, making him Atlanta’s top offensive producer at the tight end position. He came to Atlanta on a two-year, $3.2MM base value deal before the 2015 season, so he’ll be a free agent after the season is through.

Tamme first made a name for himself as a favored receiver in Peyton Manning‘s Colts offense. Later, he reunited with Manning on the Broncos, but he saw his role reduced as he battled for playing time with Julius Thomas and Virgil Green. Last year, Tamme showed what he could do in a featured role, hauling in 59 grabs for 657 yards. That was a career-high in yards for Tamme and his second-highest reception total.

Tamme turns 32 on March 15th, right around the start of the 2017 free agency period.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pending FA Jacob Tamme Faces Long Recovery

Falcons tight end Jacob Tamme, who is done for the season following shoulder surgery, faces six months of rehab before returning to full speed football, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com tweets. This is especially notable as Tamme looks ahead to free agency. Free agency starts in March, but it sounds like the veteran won’t be back to his normal self until May. Jacob Tamme (vertical)

Tamme came to Atlanta on a two-year, $3.2MM deal before the 2015 season. In his first year with the Falcons, Tamme had 59 catches for 657 yards, putting him in the top 11 among tight ends in both categories. This year, Tamme’s season ended with 22 catches for 210 yards and three touchdowns, making him Atlanta’s top TE.

Clearly, Tamme can still move the chains, but he may not find a strong market by the time he is ready for inspection. By May, many teams will already be set at tight end and they’ll have significantly less cap room than they did at the beginning of the spring. Tamme turns 32 in March, so he’ll also have his age working against him.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Clay, Cromartie, Webb, Britt

Here are some specific details on a number of contracts agreed to and/or signed recently. One-year minimum salary benefit deals aren’t included.

AFC deals:

  • Charles Clay, TE (Bills): Five years, $38MM base value. $24.5MM fully guaranteed. $10MM signing bonus. $10MM roster bonus in 2016. No-trade clause for first three years (three Twitter links via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com and Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun).
  • Antonio Cromartie, CB (Jets): Four years, $32MM base value. $7MM guaranteed. $2MM roster bonus. No signing bonus (link via Brian Costello of the New York Post).
  • Lardarius Webb, CB (Ravens): Restructured contract. Three years, $18MM base value. $5.25MM guaranteed. $3MM roster bonus in 2015 (link via Wilson).
  • Nate Irving, LB (Colts): Three years, $7.25MM base value. $1.5MM guaranteed. $750K signing bonus. Escalators in 2016, 2017 (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Karl Klug, DL (Titans): Two years, $3.75MM base value. $1MM signing bonus. $200K roster bonus in 2016. Up to $625K in annual incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • James Harrison, OLB (Steelers): Two years, $2.75MM base value. $500K signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Byron Stingily, T (Titans): Two years, $2.5MM base value. $250K signing bonus. $800K playing-time escalator (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Louis Delmas, S (Dolphins): One year, $2.25MM base value. Up to $1.25MM in incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Mitch Unrein, DT (Chargers): Two years, $1.9MM base value. $250K signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).

NFC deals:

  • Kenny Britt, WR (Rams): Two years, $9.15MM base value. $4.05MM guaranteed. $1.5MM roster bonus in 2015. Potential void in 2016 based on 2015 escalator (link via Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
  • Jacob Tamme, TE (Falcons): Two years, $3.2MM base value. $400K signing bonus. $250K roster bonus in 2016. $1MM escalator based on performance, playing time (Twitter links via Wilson).
  • Clint Gresham, LS (Seahawks): Three years, $2.705MM base value. $300K signing bonus (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Ahtyba Rubin, DL (Seahawks): One year, $2.5MM base value. $1MM signing bonus. Up to $500K in playing-time incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Kenrick Ellis, DT (Giants): One year, $1.475MM base value. $500K guaranteed. $300K signing bonus (Twitter link via Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com).
  • George Selvie, DE (Giants): One year, $1.2MM base value. $200K signing bonus. Up to $200K in incentives (Twitter link via Wilson).

Falcons Sign Jacob Tamme

2:31pm: The two-year pact has a max value of just over $4MM, tweets Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.

10:14am: Tamme’s deal with the Falcons is for two years, says Mike Klis of the Denver Post.

9:50am: The Falcons have added a tight end to their roster, announcing today (via Twitter) that they’ve signed veteran free agent Jacob Tamme away from the Broncos. Tamme himself tweeted about the news as well, expressing his excitement this morning about joining the Falcons.

On a crowded Broncos depth chart that also featured Julius Thomas and Virgil Green, Tamme saw his role reduced in recent years — after he grabbed 52 balls in 2012, the former fourth-round pick had his reception total drop to 20 in 2013 and to just 14 in 2014.

Although he wasn’t playing a huge role in the Denver offense, Tamme, who turned 30 this past Sunday, still drew interest from the Broncos this offseason. Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com first reported this morning (via Twitter) that Tamme was likely to sign with the Broncos, but cautioned that the Broncos could still make a last-minute play for their tight end. Denver lost Thomas in free agency earlier this month, but re-signed Green and added Owen Daniels.

For Atlanta, Tamme will help try to solidify a position that has been lacking for the team since Tony Gonzalez retired. In 2014, Levine Toilolo was the Falcons’ primary tight end, but he caught just 31 balls for 238 yards and a pair of touchdowns, as Matt Ryan relied primarily on his receivers and running backs when he dropped back to pass.