Teams looking for tight ends this offseason will have a handful of proven options to choose from in free agency.
The list is headlined by Evan Engram and Dalton Schultz, who were top targets in the Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys offenses last season, respectively. After that, names like Hayden Hurst and Mike Gesicki jump off the page as veteran tight ends who can bring a boost to an offense in 2023.
2023 NFL free agents: Top 25 overall | QB | RB | WR | OL | DL | LB | DB
The New England Patriots probably won't be scouring the tight end market as they're set with the Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith tandem. Still, it's worth seeing who's out there for the clubs that are weak at the position.
Here's a look at the top 10 tight ends scheduled to become free agents this spring.
10. Brock Wright
2022 stats (Lions): 18 catches, 216 yards, 4 TD
Wright took advantage of his opportunity after T.J. Hockenson was traded to Minnesota midseason. The young tight end racked up three of his four touchdowns over the last four weeks of the campaign. It's a small sample size, but he could turn out to be a steal in free agency if his performance in 2022 is any indication of what to expect going forward.
9. Jordan Akins
2022 stats (Texans): 37 catches, 495 yards, 5 TD
Akins quietly put up impressive numbers last season despite playing in Houston's anemic offense. It'll be interesting to see what he can do next year in a better situation.
8. Irv Smith
2022 stats (Vikings): 25 catches, 182 yards, 2 TD
So far, Irv Smith just hasn't panned out since being selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. That doesn't mean he can't still be a productive NFL tight end. While Smith has shown flashes of his upside, his health has prevented him from producing on a consistent basis. Perhaps a change of scenery will help him finally break out.
7. Foster Moreau
2022 stats (Raiders): 33 catches, 420 yards, 2 TD
Moreau has been hiding behind Darren Waller on the Raiders depth chart, but he finally got to provide a glimpse at his talents while Waller missed time in 2022. That audition should give him a chance at a No. 1 TE role somewhere next season.
6. Austin Hooper
2022 stats (Titans): 41 catches, 444 yards, 2 TD
Hooper hasn't been the same pass-catcher in Cleveland or Tennessee that he was with Atlanta, but he's still a viable offensive option. The veteran's blocking ability alone should be enough to earn him a consistent role next season.
5. Robert Tonyan
2022 stats (Packers): 53 catches, 470 yards, 2 TD
Tonyan has cooled off since tallying a whopping 11 touchdowns in 2020, but he's still a fine tight end capable of helping an offense searching for pass-catchers in 2023. If Aaron Rodgers is Green Bay's QB in 2023, I'd bet on Tonyan staying too.
UPDATE (March 16): The Bears are signing Tonyan to a one-year deal, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
4. Hayden Hurst
2022 stats (Bengals): 52 catches, 414 yards, 2 TD
Hurst turned out to be the perfect replacement for CJ Uzomah in Cincinnati. He excelled in his role as Joe Burrow's safety valve and proved himself as one of the better pass-catching tight ends in the game.
UPDATE (March 15): Hurst is headed to the Panthers on a three-year deal, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.
3. Mike Gesicki
2022 stats (Dolphins): 32 catches, 362 yards, 5 TD
Gesicki unsurprisingly took a back seat in a Dolphins offense that revolved around star wideouts Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Still, his numbers show he can still be a real red-zone threat and that should put him on the radar of TE-needy teams this offseason.
UPDATE (March 17): The Patriots signed Gesicki to a one-year deal worth up to $ 9 million, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
2. Dalton Schultz
2022 stats (Cowboys): 57 catches, 577 yards, 5 TD
Schultz bounced back and produced solid numbers in 2022 after suffering a PCL injury early in the season. He's been among the best pass-catching tight ends in the league over the past two seasons and should be rewarded handsomely.
1. Evan Engram
2022 stats (Jaguars): 73 catches, 766 yards, 4 TD
Engram put it all together in his first season with Jacksonville and was one of Trevor Lawrence's top targets. The ex-Giant set the Jaguars record for catches (69) and receiving yards (739) by a tight end. Not a bad way to head into free agency.
UPDATE (March 6): The Jaguars have placed the franchise tag on Engram.