Jermaine Gresham is one of the better all-round tight ends in the NFL. He stormed the NFL in 2010 out of Oklahoma, recording 52 catches for 471 yards as a rookie. During the first five years of his career in Cincinnati he never recorded fewer than 46 catches. In his final year with the Bengals, with Tyler Eifert injured , he recorded 62 catches and five touchdowns. This season with the Cardinals, he made 37 catches for 391 yards. Gresham produced as much as could be expected from any number two tight end. He is 28 years old, and has plenty of football left in him.
What does Jermaine Gresham Bring to the Table?
Jermaine Gresham is the poster child for why some people hate PFF rankings. When a team asks a tight end to do a tackle’s job success is a relative term. That is not how PFF’s rankings work. Merely slowing a player down on a run to the other side is considered a failure. Gresham is one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL, but with far too much responsibility heaped on him he faltered in 2016. Carson Palmer and Bruce Arians say he is a great blocker, PFF say he is not. Choose your own source and believe what you will. As a receiver, Gresham has soft hands, along with a massive catch radius. He lacks elite speed, but is incredibly physical in his releases off the line. Gresham had a drop percentage of 3.3% in 2016. He is a big target as well as a big blocker.
Why Might Jermaine Gresham be Available?
Gresham has been statistically disappointing in Arizona. He has played two consecutive seasons on one year “show me” deals, and has not shown them. He will look for a multi-year deal in 2017, and he should find it somewhere. Coaches and teammates are happy with the player, but at a certain point the frugal Cardinals have to understand that no player is happy with one year contracts. The disconnect between coaches and management could cost the Cardinals a very good player. Gresham also had penalty issues against the Seahawks this year, committing four penalties in the two games between those teams.
The Bottom Line for Jermaine Gresham
He is exactly what the Lions need in their second tight end, and has a successful past in the role. Gresham is capable of providing exactly what the Lions are looking for in a second tight end. The Lions could likely lock Gresham up for multiple seasons for about $4 million per year. The value he provides to both the Lions’ running and passing game would make him an invaluable part of Jim Bob Cooter’s offense. It really just comes down to how much the Lions value blocking vs. receiving ability. Gresham has been elite in the first category, and merely good in the second.