Once, veteran teammate John Carlson said of rookie Troy Niklas, “He looks like a 12-year-old boy who swallowed a grizzly bear.” At 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds, Niklas — the Cards’ second-round pick in 2014 — was a prototype tight end for coach Bruce Arians. He just couldn’t stay on the field enough, beset by ankle and wrist problems.
So Niklas moved on Wednesday, agreeing to a deal with the Patriots. It’ll be very interesting to see how Niklas performs there, especially in an offense that will throw to the tight end. Niklas is no Gronk athletically (no tight end is), but he figures to get more targets and he is coming off his best season, albeit with a low bar. In 2017, Niklas in 15 games had 11 catches for 132 yards and a touchdown, after totaling just eight receptions in 26 career games over his first three seasons.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals are going to have to address the position. As long as Niklas was out there, there was a chance he could return (the Cards also lost a potential depth guy on the offensive line when Earl Watford moved on to the Bears this week.) Jermaine Gresham is coming off an Achilles injury and is limited right now in his offseason work, although I thought he looked better than I might have expected when he was doing what he could Tuesday. The Cards also have Ricky Seals-Jones, who flashed as an undrafted rookie but still skews heavily as a receiver and not a blocker (not a shock, given that he was a wideout in college.) Gabe Holmes also remains.
At this point, it might make more sense to wait until after the draft, see if a tight end emerges there, and then reassess the position afterward.
Tags: Earl Watford, Gabe Holmes, Jermaine Gresham, Ricky Seals-Jones, Troy Niklas
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The Cardinals’ inactive list isn’t that difficult to figure out, given the number of players listed out by the time we got to Saturday night. The latest man added to that group was tight end Jermaine Gresham, who was downgraded to out Saturday because he is sick. That meant the Cardinals promoted tight end Gabe Holmes from the practice squad — and he is active — but what is likely more important will be increased snaps for rookie tight end Ricky Seals-Jones.
How much more Seals-Jones plays will be something to watch. Holmes is a little bit thicker than Seals-Jones and might serve the Cards a little better as a blocker.
Defensive lineman Corey Peters also returns from his ankle injury today after missing the past four games.
— QB Matt Barkley
— WR John Brown (toe)
— CB C.J. Goodwin
— LB Gabe Martin (hamstring)
— G Earl Watford (ankle)
— TE Jermaine Gresham (illness)
— DL Josh Mauro (ankle)
Tags: Corey Peters, Gabe Holmes, inactives, Jermaine Gresham, Redskins, Ricky Seals-Jones
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