The Green Bay Packers are reported to be in contact with another free agent tight end on Tuesday, a day after news circled that they are making overtures to Jimmy Graham. The latest report is that the team is reaching out to Ed Dickson, formerly of the Carolina Panthers.
Playing behind Greg Olsen in Carolina from 2014-2016, Dickson was primarily a blocking tight end and thus was rarely used as a receiver. However, when Olsen was hurt in 2017, Dickson took over as a more prominent receiver and responded well, catching 30 of 48 targets for 437 yards (14.6 yards per reception) and a touchdown. Dickson set career highs in 2011, his second NFL season, when he started all 16 games and caught 54 passes for 528 yards and five scores with the Baltimore Ravens.
A reliable blocker, Dickson has missed just four games in his entire career, one back in his rookie year of 2010 and three in 2012. Pro Football Focus projected the Packers to be his best fit in free agency this year, though he will likely command a bigger contract than the veteran minimum deal that PFF predicted. A contract similar to the two-year, $4 million deal that Lance Kendricks signed a year ago would be great value for Dickson, who could end up commanding more money if there are several teams interested in him.
If the Packers miss out on Graham or decide that he is not worth the price it would take to sign him, Dickson could be an excellent consolation prize. Pairing his veteran presence and blocking with an athletic rookie draft pick — with Kendricks still on the roster — would be a solid approach to the position in 2018.
Correction: this article previously indicated that Dickson had missed just one game in his career. The error has been rectified and APC apologizes for the error.