The Indianapolis Colts could be looking to upgrade at the tight end position this summer.
They’ve decided to part ways with Eric Ebron after an injury-riddled 2019 campaign.
Ebron finished with 31 receptions, 375 yards, and three touchdowns through 11 games with the Colts last season.
Veteran Jack Doyle remains under contract, but the Colts could be looking to add some depth at the position.
Unfortunately, Ebron wasn’t able to stay healthy and didn’t provide the team with much reliable, so what other options are available?
The Top Tier
Hooper was selected to his second Pro Bowl last season and put himself on pace for a big payday.
He hauled in 75 receptions with almost 800 yards and six touchdowns through 13 games last season.
Henry missed the beginning of the season, but finished with 55 receptions, 652 yards, and five touchdowns through 12 games in 2019.
Both players have earned significant contracts this summer, but they could be out of the range for Indianapolis.
Cut at the end of training camp, Travis stayed and trained in Indianapolis. With Ebron on IR — he gets his shot. pic.twitter.com/hiMdu7qkL8
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) November 25, 2019
However, Travis was claimed off waivers by the Jets in December, but Alie-Cox remains with the team.
Neither player made much noise with the team, so the Colts are unlikely to trust inexperienced players during their competitive window.
Ebron went down which opened up a door for Travis and Alie-Cox to make a name for themselves, but the Colts should be looking to add someone with a little more NFL experience under their belt.
The Colts could always pass on the big name options and go for a cheaper, but older player.
Fells is coming off a surprisingly decent season with the Houston Texans.
He hauled in 34 receptions for 341 yards and seven touchdowns during 16 games with the team.
Witten was retired, but came back last season to play for Dallas.
It’s unclear whether or not Witten is ready to call it a career again, but he’d be a fit in Indianapolis if he decides he wants to keep playing.
It’s unlikely the Colts will get Pro Bowl-caliber performances out of these players, but they have experience and they won’t cost a ton.
One potential play-maker hitting the market: #Packers TE Jimmy Graham is not expected back in Green Bay, sources say. The move with the 33-year old former free agent signing is noteable, though not a surprise for anyone involved.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 4, 2020
The Forgotten Players
The Colts could also opt to sign the risky veteran players, but who have big-play potential.
Graham hasn’t exactly played well during his two seasons in Green Bay, but he has shown that he has the ability to make big plays happen.
Eifert has been a forgotten man since his injuries, but was an absolute stud on the field when healthy.
The Colts could sign either of these players to a cheap prove it deal to see what they have left in the tank.
An Upgrade Needs to Happen
Clearly, Doyle can’t do it all himself and the in-house options didn’t provide much help last season after Ebron went down.
It’s unlikely that the Colts spend big on a tight end, but anything is possible.
Signing someone like Graham, Fells, or even Witten would be an upgrade over last season.
The Colts may decide to wait and draft someone to help fill the void, but there are plenty of options on the free-agent market this summer.
Bringing in a red-zone target like Witten or Graham on a cheap one-year deal wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world and could be the Colts best route to success.