Narrowing Down the Options for Delanie Walker’s Next NFL Team
Wondering where Delanie Walker will sign is a fair question, but let’s first look at the facts. A 35-year-old tight end coming off back-to-back injury-plagued seasons isn’t exactly what you would call a “coveted asset” in NFL free agency.
Some intriguing tight ends will be available on Day 2 of the Draft, and it’s unclear how much Delanie has left in the tank.
The veteran tight end was ultra-productive for a long time in Tennessee, but he hasn’t been the same since he suffered a gruesome leg injury in 2018. The truth is, Walker will likely have to settle for a short-term deal worth a lot less than what he’s used to making.
There won’t be a handful of teams knocking down Walker’s door, but I presume his agent will start to get some serious calls from the following organizations.
New England Patriots
Have you seen the Patriots’ depth chart heading into the NFL Draft?
I’ll save you some time and tell you that the duo of Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo is all New England has to show for their depth at the tight end. Bill Belichick saw how ineffective his offense was last year when operating with the aforementioned duo, and that was with Tom Brady at the helm.
If Jarrett Stidham is indeed the guy, the least Belichick could do is start piling on some weapons. Adding a wideout during the draft is likely, but inking Delanie Walker to a deal would be a good place to start.
Poor Jordan Reed. The Redskins tight has endured contention-like symptoms his entire career, and Washington had no choice but to cut ties. Vernon Davis retired, and yet the Reskins front office didn’t go after any tight ends in free agency.
Perhaps Ron Rivera and his staff are going to key in on a TE with the 66th pick, but Washington has lots of holes to fill. Rivera missed out on his guy from Carolina (Greg Olsen), and he can’t feel good about Jeremy Sprinkle and Logan Thomas.
Signing a surehanded tight end would help Dwayne Haskins develop, and isn’t that the most imperative thing for this franchise to start winning games?
Green Bay Packers
When Matt LaFleur was the Titans’ offensive coordinator in 2018, he only had the chance to coach Delanie Walker for one game. Reuniting together in Green Bay would give Aaron Rodgers a proven commodity at the tight end position — something this roster desperately needs.
Jimmy Graham bolted for Chicago, leaving Jace Sternberger and Marcedes Lewis as the only viable options. Sternberger didn’t catch a single pass in six games as a rookie in 2019, and Lewis hasn’t caught more than 25 balls in a season since way back in 2012.
Walker’s best days may very well be behind him, but it’s clear that the Packers offense could use all the help they can get.
Philip Rivers loves throwing the ball to his tight end. Just ask Antonio Gates or Hunter Henry. Rivers’ rather unlively arm lends itself to targeting tight ends more often than an average QB, which is why Chris Ballard should strike up a conversation with Delanie Walker.
Considering Eric Ebron found a new home with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Indy is in the market for another TE to pair up with Jack Doyle. Frank Reich loves running two-tight ends sets, and Delanie Walker fits the bill as a number-two option.
With his familiarity competing in the AFC South, this could turn out to be a match made in heaven.
Predicting Where Delanie Walker Will Sign
The Packers may very well draft a tight end in the second or third round, but that doesn’t mean Delanie Walker couldn’t still add value to this locker room. Along with helping guys like Jace Sternberger and Robert Tonyan progress their games, Walker can immediately come in and provide a safety valve for Aaron Rodgers.
Delanie might be 35, but playing a total of just eight games over the past two years means his batteries should be fully charged. Plus, one way to reinvigorate your love for the game is to be thrown into an offense that is being commanded by Aaron Rodgers.
Other Top Free Agents’ Potential Destinations
Delanie is far from a prized possession, but there are still a few household names on the free-agent market yet to be claimed. The posts below showcase five FAs who are surprisingly still searching for employment.