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Philadelphia Eagles Offseason Free Agency Guide - Part 4: Tight Ends

The trading/free agent signing period is fast approaching, so the Eagles front office will have to decide who they plan to pursue come March 5th. Over the next few weeks at BGN, we will be taking a position-by-position look at who we could see in an Eagles uniform come training camp. Today's position? Tight Ends.

The return of rookie Cornelius Ingram this spring will surely bolster the tight end corps. Coupled with budding superstar Brent Celek, there is a chance the Eagles won't bother with the free agency for this position at all. However, with backup Alex Smith likely departing after his contract expires, Andy Reid and company might feel obligated to go back to their old ways and carry three tight ends on the roster. Here are a few options for backup tight ends:

Benjamin Watson (UFA): At 29, Watson is one of the best tight ends available in this year's free agency market. The Eagles may have their second chance in two years to grab this valuable playmaker should the Patriots decide to drop him. While Watson is a very good receiver in both the short and deep passing games, racking up 20 TDs during his six seasons with New England, his blocking isn't the best. This will be a reach pick for the Eagles, especially since this current starter will have to be relegated to Celek's backup.

Brandon Manumaleuna (UFA): On the opposite end of the spectrum lies this 30 year old Chargers backup tight end. Manumaleuna is such a good blocker that he's essentially a third tackle out on the field; he should have no trouble going up against the likes of DeMarcus Ware or Justin Tuck twice a year. However, his speed severely limits his receiving ability, so the deep pass is out of the question. Still, while not the ideal redzone threat, Manumaleuna does catch short TD passes from time to time,  accumulating 12 over his nine NFL seasons.

Ben Hartsock (UFA): The 29 year old Jets backup is far from the best tight end available, but can still present some value to the Eagles. He is a solid blocker and can catch quick, short passes if need be. Don't expect him to be a dynamic receiver or redzone threat though. Touchdowns are scarce in Hartsock's resume.

Other Available Free Agents:

In the next installment, we will be taking a look at wide receivers. Feel free to leave any suggestions on who to examine in the comments section. For more information on unrestricted vs. restricted free agents in a potentially uncapped year, check out this great article over at Mocking The Draft.

Previous articles: QB, HB, FB

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