Jermaine Gresham is set to hit free agency this season, moving on from the Cincinnati Bengals. He has played in Cincinnati since being drafted 21st overall in the 2010 NFL Draft.
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The big receiving tight end will be taking his skills to the free market after having two seasons with moderate numbers compared to his 2012 year when he amassed 737 yards and five touchdowns as a primary threat for Andy Dalton. With better receiving options in 2013 and 2014, Gresham has seen his numbers dip down to just 458 and 460 yards, respectfully. He has kept the touchdowns coming though, bringing in nine total TDs in those two seasons.
Because of his decline since 2012, expect Gresham to be a bit more of a “bargain” tight end during this year’s free agency period.
However, with the largest cap room and a need to upgrade over the declining Marcedes Lewis, the Jacksonville Jaguars would be wise to give Gresham a look. This is especially true if big name “splash” signings in free agency take place at other positions, such as right tackle, safety, cornerback, linebacker, halfback, or wide receiver.
The big draw for Gresham is his consistency. This is something the team loved about Lewis for so long, but with him finally missing significant time and no longer posting consistently strong numbers and his steady blocking seemingly lacking, Gresham would be an instant upgrade and provide similar skills that the team is looking for.
Those skills are in demand by all teams as Gresham is a strong, physical receiver who provides a big target in the end zone and an easy outlet for Blake Bortles. If Bortles is able to rely on him in the end zone, then the Jaguars will be able to put up considerably more points in coming seasons. In addition, he is an excellent pass blocker (something the Jaguars desperately need), coming in with Pro Football Focus’ top pass blocking grade for 2014. One of the strengths of Marcedes Lewis has been his pass blocking over his career, but he has slipped recently and can’t be as relied upon as previously.
Gresham presents an opportunity for the Jaguars to upgrade with a known commodity in the passing game and the blocking game. They should be able to get him at lower money than a commanding “premier” player like Julius Thomas if they decide to spend more money elsewhere.
All in all, that sounds like a quality potential move for the Jaguars’ front office to make.