A little more than a month ago, Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim mentioned on the radio he had a couple of players he was watching in free agency and the team could add a late impact player before training camp. He implied the possible targets who were coming back from injuries.
It turns out one of those players on the radar of Keim and the Cardinals is free agent tight end Jermaine Gresham. According to Adam Schefter, Gresham is set to visit the Cardinals this week, along with other teams. He already has a contract offer on the table from the New Orleans Saints.
Gresham has played five years in the NFL, all for the Cincinnati Bengals, who drafted him in the first round in 2010. He was a Pro Bowler in 2011 and 2012. In 2014, he caught 62 passes for 460 yards and five scores.
Gresham is coming off offseason back surgery.
He would significantly upgrade the tight end position. John Carlson retired this offseason, leaving the Cards with a total of 17 regular season games played between all of the tight ends on their roster. The only players at the position to have actually played in the NFL on the Cards roster are Troy Niklas and Darren Fells.
Gresham has caught no less than 46 passes in any season and has scored at least four times every year in the league. According to Pro Football Focus, he is a plus pass blocker and not a great run blocker. He was graded positively in both categories in his first two seasons.
I have said multiple times the Cards needed to add a veteran tight end to the mix. If they can add Gresham (and it is certainly no sure thing), he would provide experience, success (his teams have been to the playoffs every year since 2011) and talent.
The tight end position has been an issue for the Cardinals almost every season since coming to Arizona. There has been a dearth of talent since Jay Novacek left in free agency to become a force in Dallas. Freddie Jones was good in the early 2000s, although less productive than previous seasons, and Todd Heap ended up being a disappointment after missing a lot of games to injury.
Can Gresham break the trend? He has to sign here first. But he would likely be the most talented tight end the Cards have had on their roster since coming to Arizona.