Whether they want to or not, the New York Giants might end up having to find a replacement for free-agent tight end Martellus Bennett. One recognizable name among tight ends likely to be available on the free-agent market next month is Delanie Walker of the San Francisco 49ers.
Is the 28-year-old Walker, a seven-year NFL veteran a fit for the Giants? David Fucillo, editor of SB Nation's Niners Nation, gave us a detailed breakdown of Walker's capabilities:
Likelihood to test market: I don't see him re-signing before free agency starts, as I have to think he wants to test his value. I think the 49ers would be inclined to look at a tight end in the draft if Walker is asking for more than they're willing to pay. The 49ers do need tight ends, but they are not in a position to overpay Walker to keep him in town. I think right now the odds are 50-50 he is gone because I honestly do not know how other teams will value a guy who has spent his career as a backup to Vernon Davis.
Walker, 6-foot-1, 241 pounds was originally a wide receiver. He has also played fullback for San Francisco as well as tight end. He is an able blocker, as evidenced by the +8.9 run-blocking score he received from Pro Football Focus in 2012.
Walker cannot, however, replace Bennett or any of the tight ends the Giants have employed in recent years (Jake Ballard and Kevin Boss) as a receiving threat. His career-high in receptions is 29. In 2012 he caught 21 passes, three for touchdowns.
If the Giants are forced to replace Bennett, Walker does not seem like a likely candidate even though he isn't likely to be expensive. The Giants have had success with unheralded players like Ballard and Boss, and might choose to bring in a younger, unproven player they believe has some upside. They may also give an opportunity to 2012 fourth-round draft choice Adrien Robinson, or turn to the 2013 NFL Draft for help.
Your thoughts, Giants' fans?