The looming battle about whether Jimmy Graham should be viewed as a tight end or wide receiver for franchise tag purposes underscores the changing responsibilities of the tight end position in the NFL.
One free agent tight end hopes that things haven’t changed so much that blocking skills have been devalued. Brandon Pettigrew hasn’t put up receiving numbers like Graham or some of the league’s other prolific pass catchers at the position, but he hopes there are teams that appreciate how often he was positioned on the line to help as a blocker when surveying the free agent market.
“I want to be used as a tight end,” Pettigrew said, via USA Today. “I want to be utilized for my run-blocking and my pass-receiving skill set.”
With Graham tagged and Dennis Pitta re-signing with the Ravens, Pettigrew is joined by Jermichael Finley and Garrett Graham at the top of the list of available tight ends. Finley’s 2013 neck injury could be a red flag for teams while Graham has limited experience as the lead guy at the position. That should lead teams to take a long look at Pettigrew and his eventual contract will tell us how much of a price teams will pay for a tight end who leads with skills that have seemed outdated at times in recent years.