2020 NFL free agency: Top 10 free agent TEs
10. Ben Watson
2019 Stats: 17 rec, 173 yds, 0 TD, 70.8% catch
2019 Salary: $1.236M base, $940K cap number
Watson, because of his age and his declining production, is not of any interest to the Eagles, but he can probably play TE2 for a number of teams looking to bolster the position. Heading into his third different decade in the NFL, Watson was useful (35 rec / 400 yds / 2 TD) as recently as 2018, but he's taken a step back in each season since a great 2015. He'll be on a roster, but he won't be blowing games up.
9. Charles Clay
2019 Stats: 18 rec, 237 yds, 1 TD, 75.0% catch
2019 Salary: $1.15M base, $1.906M cap number
Clay is an interesting player. He's been productive when given good opportunities - he averaged 56.8 rec / 600.4 yds / 3.6 TDs from 201 to 2017 - but he's also six years removed from his breakout 2013 season, and on the wrong side of 30. He can probably still play TE1, given a scarcity of truly great tight ends, but he would also make a great backup for some teams. He is, however, too old for the Eagles to care in 2020.
8. Vance McDonald
2019 Stats: 38 rec, 273 yds, 3 TD,
2019 Salary: $4.2M base, $5.73M cap number
You probably remember Vance McDonald from the no-catch call against the Patriots in 2017. He's a perfectly solid, maybe-good tight end who had a down year in 2019 because the Steelers were effectively QB-less. McDonald is a yards-after-catch artist; despite racking up 550 fewer receiving yards than Zach Ertz in 2018, McDonald actually had 35 more YAC. He's a big body with fair hands who can be a solid TE1 or a superb TE2.
7. Jacob Hollister
2019 Stats: 41 rec, 349 yds, 3 TD, 69.5% catch
2019 Salary: $645K base, $455K cap number
After two seasons as an afterthought in New England, Hollister turned into one of those "I played with Russell Wilson for a year" breakout players. He caught at least two passes in each 10 straight games, put his catch rate near 70%, and generally proved himself a usable pass-catcher, if not a flashy one. The exciting part about Hollister is his relative youth and his room for growth; the less-than-exciting part is a dearth of tape.
6. Tyler Eifert
2019 Stats: 43 rec, 436 yds, 3 TD, 68.3% catch
2019 Salary: $1M base, $3.025M cap number
Not too long ago, Eifert was the hottest name in the tight end world. His 2015 year was ultimately too good to duplicate, though, and he's been hampered by injuries (and an awful team) since, playing in just 30 games over the last four seasons. He's still young enough and talented enough to start at TE1 for a good chunk of the league, and Cincy will probably want to keep him around to help franchise quarterback Joe Burrow ease into the NFL.
5. Jason Witten
2019 Stats: 63 rec, 529 yds, 4 TD, 75.9% catch
2019 Salary: $2M base, $4.25M cap number
Will we see Jason Witten suit up for a team other than Dallas? I think yes. Blake Jarwin (more on him later) is the future of the position for the Cowboys. While Witten is a franchise legend, and showed last year he can still play despite taking 2018 off, 2019 was his least-productive season in yards, and tied for his least-productive season in receptions, since 2003. He's not getting younger (he turns 38 before the season starts) but he'll probably still catch 55 passes in 2020... for a new team.
4. Blake Jarwin
2019 Stats: 31 rec, 365 yds, 3 TD, 75.6% catch
2019 Salary: $1.665M base, $1.5M cap number
About that Jarwin guy: he seems good. With ideal size (6-foot-5) and the same 40-yard dash as Zach Ertz, and two seasons of a 75% catch-rate, he's put together two solid seasons in a row. I'd be shocked if Dallas doesn't bring him back: with Witten out of the way in Dallas, Jarwin should break out in 2020. If the Cowboys get stuck on nostalgia, though, Jarwin will get a TE1 chance elsewhere, and he will do damage.
3. Eric Ebron
2019 Stats: 31 rec, 375 yds, 3 TD, 59.6% catch
2019 Salary: $5.25M base, $7M cap number
Eric Ebron is a very, very good tight end. Incredibly, he'll only be 27 years old when the 2020 season begins. It feels like he's been churning out productive seasons for a decade. Between 2015 and 2018 he caught at least 47 passes for at least 537 yards each year, and in 2018 he caught 13 touchdowns. Frankly, Ebron might be the best underrated tight end in the league, even if his ceiling is a bit lower than naming him an elite TE1 option. Any team will be glad to have Ebron, at (almost) any price.
2. Hunter Henry
2019 Stats: 55 rec, 652 yds, 5 TD, 72.4% catch
2019 Salary: $1.17M base, $2.03M cap number
Henry bounced back from a lost season in 2018 and reminded everyone he's a scary TE1. He catches balls thrown his way, he picks up big chunks, and he's a short-yardage beast: four of his five TDs in 2019 came inside the 15-yard line. Los Angeles is revamping its QB position, which makes everything fungible, but the Chargers would be smart to keep Henry around for whoever is throwing the ball in 2020. If not, he'll be a sought-after TE1 target.
1. Austin Hooper
2019 Stats: 75 rec, 787 yds, 6 TD, 77.3% catch
2019 Salary: $2.025M base, $2.211M cap number
Hooper's first four seasons in the league are the definition of upward trajectory. The Stanford product (the Cardinal sure make good tight ends, huh?) has a career yards per catch above 10.0, has 10 TDs over his last two years, and has increased his catches and yards in each successive season. At 25, with ideal size and athleticism, Hooper is a franchise TE-in-waiting. Atlanta should give him a blank check.