ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 20: Jared Cook #89 of the Tennessee Titans breaks away from the Atlanta Falcons defense during play at the Georgia Dome on November 20, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons won 23-17. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Speculation about the Falcons acquiring Kellen Winslow began to pour in as soon as the Buccaneers stated their intent of moving him. While we now know he has a new team not named Atlanta, it got me thinking about other tight ends out there available for the P.T.G. era (post Tony Gonzalez).
Just about everyone I spoke with prior to this year's draft wanted Atlanta to select a tight end. The franchise apparently didn't see this as a vital need right now, but it will become one after the 2012 season.
They could go ahead and draft a rookie for 2013, or they could take a look at some free agents. Here are a few guys who we can hope might sign with the Falcons, even though this is an extremely early look.
Benjamin Watson: He's never been one of the premiere tight ends in the league, but Watson does his job and provides a reliable receiver. He has good athleticism, great route running skills and plenty of NFL experience. Wouldn't be very costly either.
Fred Davis: After signing his one-year tender, Davis could become a free agent next season. It's unlikely the Redskins will let him get away, but he'd make a great addition for the Falcons. He's a young player who is still improving, with the ability to make a big impact in the passing game.
Jared Cook: Remember his 80-yard touchdown last season? This guy has outstanding downfield speed for his position. He's only 25, and last season was his first year of significant production. The Titans should continue to utilize him more often, but if they part ways in 2013 I would love to see him in Atlanta.
Ed Dickson: He'll be a restricted free agent next season, but he still might be worth a look. Dickson is a young, raw player who racked up 54 receptions in the Ravens passing game last year. There were a few games in 2011 where Joe Flacco constantly looked his way, but that offense pretty much stuck to short yardage situations with Dickson.
As you can see, there aren't a ton of options in free agency for the Falcons to replace Tony G. Personally, I'd like to see them use their first draft pick of 2013 to address the position. What's your take?