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The Arizona Cardinals Have Work To Do At Tight End

The tight end room for the Arizona Cardinals remains one that could use improvement, especially if a key free agent departs.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Let's face it, tight end has never been what one would consider a "strength" for the Arizona Cardinals. This team hasn't been able to find a consistent and reliable tight end that has stayed with the team since moving to Arizona from St. Louis. And in the current offense called by Bruce Arians, finding that guy becomes even more difficult with the level of blocking skill tight ends are required to possess.

Currently under contract, the Cards have former 2nd round pick Troy Niklas, who has been a perennial bust so far. Then they have Hakeem Valles and Ifeanyi Momah who have played sparingly and aren't anything the team can rely on going into the season.

Their two top tight ends on the depth chart from last season -- Jermaine Gresham and Darren Fells -- are both free agents. Fells could probably be retained for cheap, but hasn't shown that he can be a top guy. Gresham, meanwhile, is a good player, but he could become too expensive for the lack of cap space that the Cardinals have.

So really, what's the game plan here?

The Cardinals will probably look to address the position at some point in the draft, but given the amount of holes they have, addressing the tight end position may not be as vital as a position such as linebacker, cornerback, wide receiver, quarterback or safety. That means they aren't likely to draft one high if they do at all.

Then there's always the free agency route. If they choose to go this way, they will probably take a similar approach to what they did with Gresham in that they will be looking for a guy in search of a team to rebound with on a one year deal to re-establish his value before re-entering free agency in 2018. This could be the ideal scenario given that the Cardinals are looking to go big this season in an attempt at a Super Bowl, but it is not a long term solution.

Keep in mind, this player has to be a guy that is willing to sit on the line of scrimmage and be effective as a run blocker, so not just any free agent with past production in the passing game will necessarily be a fit. Then there is also the caveat that they can't be too expensive, so guys like Martellus Bennett and Jared Cook probably aren't desert-bound anytime soon.

What do you think Arizona Cardinals fans? What can be done to upgrade the tight end position? Any free agents or draft prospects come to mind?