The Green Bay Packers need help at the tight end position, and they need it badly. With just Lance Kendricks, Emanuel Byrd, and Robert Tonyan under contract for 2018, the position needs bodies, if nothing else.
One strong possibility appears to be re-signing four-year veteran Richard Rodgers, the team’s third-round draft pick in 2017. Rodgers’ agent has had “preliminary talks” with the Packers about his client signing a new contract with the team, according to a report from ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. Rodgers is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins on March 14th.
In 2017, Rodgers’ numbers dropped significantly as he took more of a backup role following the signings of Kendricks and Martellus Bennett. He missed just one game, but averaged fewer than one reception per contest. He did set a career-high in yards per catch with 13.3, but that can be at least partly chalked up to small sample size.
Still, Rodgers has value as a second or third tight end, especially because he can play a significant role on special teams as well. He was on the field for just under 30% of the Packers’ offensive snaps in 2017 — down from 55% in 2016 — but he did contribute 109 special teams snaps last season, or about 25% of the team’s total.
Given Rodgers’ role and skill set, a two-or three-year deal for a modest salary seems likely. He would probably be able to command a deal exceeding the league minimum, but Kendricks’ two-year, $4 million contract from last season may be a good place to start.