The Atlanta Falcons have a gaping hole at tight end now that future first-ballot Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez has played his last snap in the NFL. With so many other holes they need to fill in the draft, this could be one position that they try to upgrade in the free agent market this offseason.
One possibility for them to sign will be Brandon Pettigrew. A former first-round pick of the Detroit Lions, Pettigrew has had mixed results so far in the NFL.
A capable pass catcher with good physical skills, he has hauled in 16 touchdowns on 284 receptions in his four years as a Lion. A subpar route runner who can struggle against zone defenses, especially in the red zone, he could be let go by Detroit and available for tight end needy teams like the Falcons to sign for a value price.
Pettigrew will never live up to his first-round hype. He’s not a game-changing, devastating type of weapon. But, he is a solid player who would be a massive upgrade over the players the Falcons currently have on the roster.
Receiving tight ends have become the newest trendy offensive movement in the league the last few years. That might mean that Pettigrew will get more money than he deserves when he hits the open market, but if Atlanta can get him for a team-friendly cap number he’ll be a good addition to the team.
With so many needs that they need to fill, the Falcons should be looking for guys like Pettigrew in free agency. He might not be a splashy move, but he can make the team better and shouldn’t come with a costly cap hit.