According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with former Packers Tight End Richard Rodgers.
#Packers free agent TE Richard Rodgers is signing a 1-year deal with the #Eagles, source said. He goes to a place that uses the TE as much as anyone to reboot his career. He hopes to recreate the success from 2015, when he had 8 TDs.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 4, 2018
The former Green Bay Packer is also a relatively young tight end with some upside. While not particularly athletic, he’s proven to be a safe pair of hands since being drafted by Green Bay in 2014, catching 15 touchdown passes in that span. In fact, he’s caught more than 63% of passes thrown in his direction in every year since his rookie season. His role would bleed onto special teams as well, but this could be a cheap and cheerful addition to the roster. Rodgers received for 160 yards and 1 touchdown in 2017.
It’s hard to imagine that the deal given to Rodgers will be more than what they would have paid Brent Celek if they had decided to retain the veteran. Rodgers would also fill a similar role. As a potential number three tight end, Rodgers could also fill some of the void left by Trey Burton. He played in around 25% of the Packers special teams plays last year and has proven that his 6’4, 257 lbs frame can be used as both a blocker and a receiver.
2014: 30 targets, 20 receptions, 225 yards, 11.3 yards per reception, 2 touchdowns
2015: 85 targets, 58 receptions, 528 yards, 8.8 yards per reception, 8 touchdowns
2016: 47 targets, 30 receptions, 271 yards, 9 yards per reception, 2 touchdowns
2017: 19 targets, 12 receptions, 160 yards, 13.3 yards per reception, 1 touchdown
Although his receiving production has dropped over the last three years, Rodgers has proven to be a reliable target for Rodgers #1 during his time with Green Bay. The Eagles now have quite an interesting picture at tight end moving forward and this could drastically change the draft picture.
TE1: Zach Ertz
We know that the team are very high on Shepherd product, Billy Brown, whose receiver-like hands shone in preseason one year ago, with the undrafted free agent caching 8 passes for 51 yards during the four-game span. Brown certainly showed he had all the tools to become a successful tradesman, but he wasn’t quite ready to make the jump. One year later and that window may be opening.
Draft capital has evaded the Eagles this year, with the team currently missing a pick on day two of the draft. While that’s subject to change, it means filling holes a little tricker than normal and the need to hit early even more important than ever. Would they take a tight end in round one or could they use that pick elsewhere. 26-year old Richard Rodgers may not be a tight end who will change the entire success of the offense, but he may just provide enough in the way of reliability and security for the team to give the keys to Billy Brown to. step up as a TE3, while Rodgers mans the second role on a ‘prove-it’ contract, giving Philadelphia one more year to groom Brown, or indeed await to see what jewels are waiting in next year’s draft.
The Eagles suddenly have a sense of stability at tight end. The depth isn’t mind-glowingly intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Zach Ertz has and will continue to be the star of the show. If the Eagles can utilize Brown’s hands without having to force him to block, an area of his game that still needs polishing, then the need is almost immediately diminished.
Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports