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2024 NFL Free Agents: Noah Fant, Gerald Everett, Mike Gesicki, Austin Hooper

2024 NFL Free Agents: Noah Fant, Gerald Everett, Mike Gesicki, Austin Hooper

After hitting on QBs, RBs and WRs through our 2024 free agency primer series already, we tie a bow on the positional previews with tight ends in the 2024 NFL Free Agency Primer for Fantasy Football. Just as with the other positions, free agency significantly impacts team dynamics and shapes the landscape for Super Bowl contenders. Free agency also plays a critical role in how teams approach the 2024 NFL Draft.

Here are all of the most noteworthy impending free-agent tight ends and provide insights for fantasy players in redraft leagues, best ball leagues, and dynasty leagues. Below we dive into a few notable names.

2024 NFL Tight End Free Agency Primer

Noah Fant

Before the 2023 season, Noah Fant had finished no worse than TE17 any year of his career. Coming off zero TDs with horrible usage in a three-way committee deployed by the Seahawks’ previous regime, the uber-athletic tight end needs a fresh start somewhere at just 26 years old.

Still ranked 7th among all tight ends in yards after the catch per reception in 2023 (5.7).

The Panthers could be a potential landing spot for Fant given the new head coach, Dave Canales, has ties to Seattle’s offensive personnel. Hayden Hurst signed a lucrative deal with the Panthers last offseason but landed on IR after suffering from Post-Traumatic Amnesia. The team can also cut ties with Ian Thomas to save close to $3 million in salary cap space.

The Panthers could be a very sneaky landing spot for a tight end – given that Canales “awarded” Buccaneers tight end Cade Otton an elite role. Played nearly every single snap and ran a route on 80% of the dropbacks (3rd among TEs).

It’s “easy” to tie Fant to the Bears under new OC Shane Waldron (formerly of Seattle), but this doesn’t make sense to me, given how poorly Fant’s numbers suffered after arriving with the Seahawks. He was much more productive in Denver during the start of his career.

Gerald Everett

If any tight end were to reunite with Shane Waldron, it could be Everett after their time spent together in Los Angeles (Rams) and Seattle.

Last season, the tight end usage never got to a point with the Chargers where Gerald Everett could fully be unleashed, aside from occasional spiked weeks of production when other guys missed time. Everett was by far Easton Stick‘s No. 1 target after Justin Herbert went down with an injury. But he never had one game with 50 or more receiving yards. Logged a 55% snap rate on the year (33rd). Everett will be 30 in 2024 after posting career lows in yards and yards per route run as the TE24 overall and TE21 in points per game (5.7). He was the TE15 overall and TE14 in points per game in 2022 (7.4).

Everett could also reunite with the LA Rams and Sean McVay with Tyler Higbee coming off a very late torn ACL injury. The Rams tight end role is very advantageous, given that Higbee finished the 2023 season with the 8th-highest routes run rate at 73%.

Mike Gesicki

It’s been back-to-back seasons where Mike Gesicki has just not “fit” the offensive system that he has been put in. He’s a tight end who doesn’t block and needs a team that will embrace that part of his game.

If put in a position as a hybrid slot receiver, the 28-year-old can be productive. He has shown that while playing in the NFL.

In 2021, Gesicki finished sixth in receptions, ninth in receiving yards, fourth in route participation (78%), and fifth in target share (17%) over 18 weeks. These impressive numbers translated to a TE9 finish (TE8 Weeks 1-17) in PPR (TE11 in half-PPR).

The fact that he already has multiple TE1 finishes on his resume (TE7 in 2020, TE11 in 2019) bolsters the case for Gesicki to be capable of bouncing back, if he can land on the right team.

A team to monitor for a tight end landing is the Tennessee Titans. Nick Holz is coming in as the OC after spending last season as the passing game coordinator for the Jaguars. The same offense that fueled Evan Engram to 114 catches for 963 yards on 140-plus targets as a featured slot receiver. The “role” he had in the Jaguars offense was beyond elite, ranking first in the NFL in route participation (83%).

Austin Hooper

Harrison Bryant and/or Austin Hooper, you ARE future New England Patriots. Both have played under new OC Alex Van Pelt, who loves to utilize two tight ends sets in his offense.

Given the addition of Van Pelt, Pharoah Brown will likely re-sign with the Patriots after a pretty impressive year on a per-target basis. No.1 in yards per target among TEs in 2023. He was a big play waiting to happen in a completely anemic Patriots offense last season.

Hooper and Bryant are carbon-copy versions of each other, with Hooper coming in with a more decorated pedigree. Don’t expect any to make much noise in fantasy unless he gets a boatload of volume. His 81% catch rate ranked top-5 last season.

Hooper’s top-6 fantasy finishes in Atlanta from 2018-2019 seem like a distant memory. It’s also possible that Hooper could land in Washington, given his connection with former Falcons HC, Dan Quinn. The team seems likely to move on from Logan Thomas, given his salary cap hit at over $8 million compared to a dead cap hit of under $2 million in 2024 in the final year of his contract.

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