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Falcons should go after TE Gary Barnidge

Can Barnidge be a bridge for Atlanta’s younger tight ends.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

I understand that a long-term recipe for success in the NFL in no way includes, “taking castoffs from the Cleveland Browns on the wrong side of 30.” Well the Atlanta Falcons really need to take a castoff from the Cleveland Browns on the wrong side of 30.

We were pretty sure that Jacob Tamme was not going to be back, as sad as that made everyone. Austin Hooper looks like the starter of the future, but he is still pretty green. More concerning is behind Hooper there are zero pass-catching threats. The Falcons have blocker Levine Toilolo, followed by a bunch of unknowns in D.J. Tialavea, Eric Saubert, Joshua Perkins, and my now favorite player I just learned of Darion Griswold. Griswold, of course, has a one year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club. It is very, very unrealistic to expect Saubert to do much in his rookie season.

Which is where the Falcons should take some castoff from the Cleveland Browns on the wrong side of 30. Gary Barnidge is definitely the best available tight end left on the market. He’s like a premium version of Tamme with all the added options. Faster. A little younger. A bit better as a blocker. Not the NFL’s most hated man.

Barnidge would be a nice addition that you hope doesn’t need to be a star, but he can be. He’s only one season separated from a nine touchdown, 1,043 yard season where he averaged 13.2 yards per catch. With the Browns. Their quarterback was probably Jim Stamson or Corn Smith or something. And Barnidge became their biggest offensive weapon.

This guy is still waiting for a job, and can help take some pressure off of Hooper. The Falcons could use a quality vet on the cheap to bring the young guys along and make a few more plays in Atlanta’s high-flying offense.