Quaterback Matt Hasselbeck (8) of the Seattle Seahawks throws the ball to tight end John Carlson (89) in the first quarter against the Chicago Bears in the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16 2011 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
If it seems like we've been pimping tight ends a lot as potential free agent targets for the New York Giants, it's because it's become a dire position of need after Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum were injured in the Super Bowl. It's also because teams that value the tight end position have had pretty good success in today's pass-happy NFL. Witness the emergence of the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Vernon Davis, Jermichael Finley, and Aaron Hernandez; along with the mostly-reliable likes of Jason Witten, Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez --and you'll notice that all of them play for very good teams.
And so on this Sunday, two days before the free agent signing period begins, we look at another potential tight end signing for the Giants -- Seattle's John Carlson. The Giants had shown interest in trading for Carlson last year before a shoulder injury kept him out for the entire 2011 season -- and now that he's a free agent, he's indeed worth a look. Carlson's numbers aren't mind-blowing, and he's probably not close to the class of players mentioned above. But he's consistent and was on the rise before his injury, and could be good for 50 or 60 catches and maybe 7 to 10 touchdowns.
Carlson's dollar value has surely declined after the injury, and there is the other fact that the Seahawks may want him back to split time with Zach Miller. But this would be a low-risk, high-reward type move, and would bolster a position on the Giants' roster that badly needs bolstering right now. Of course, the other side to that is, do we need another tight end with a recent injury history? As with other free agent possibilities, Jerry Reese and the Giants' brass will have to weigh the cost against available cash under the cap, and also on whether the Seahawks do all they can to retain Carlson.
But regardless, here's the thing I like about this guy--137 career touches, zero fumbles. He also doesn't drop many passes. And you can bet Tom Coughlin likes to see stats like that, too.