While we were all fretting over the state of the wide receiver depth chart for the Atlanta Falcons, the tight end position flew under the radar. The reality is that after Lee Smith retired and Hayden Hurst went to the Bengals, the Falcons didn’t have any proven options behind Kyle Pitts, and any options to be the team’s top traditional tight end when Pitts is utilized as a receiver. That was going to need to be fixed at some point between now and the summer.
The Falcons made that fix today with a smart signing that doubles as an obvious one. Anthony Firkser hit free agency this year when the Falcons had a need at tight end, and Arthur Smith was his offensive coordinator during his career season in 2020. Now he’s a Falcon and should be expected to step in as TE2 on this roster.
We have signed TE Anthony Firkser.— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) April 12, 2022
Firkser, 27, spent the past four seasons in Tennessee after breaking into the NFL as an undrafted free agent for the Jets. As a reserve with the Titans, he posted 106 receptions for 1,107 yards and 5 touchdowns, with his best season coming in 2020 when he posted 39 grabs for 387 yards and a score. He’s a solid but unspectacular blocker, but Smith valued him in Tennessee for his route running and sure hands, and a reunion with his former coach should be a boon for him after his stint as the top tight end on the roster in 2021 was a quiet one.
With Firkser in the fold alongside Pitts, plus the presence of solid blocking tight end and emergency pass catching option Parker Hesse, the team heads into the draft with a good group at the position. They also have project Brayden Lenius and veteran block-first options Daniel Helm and Ryan Becker to duke it out a last roster spot or practice squad spots, and have been sniffing around draft-eligible tight ends like UCLA’s Greg Dulcich. It’s possible that they come out of this offseason in better shape at tight end than we would’ve expected, and with the options necessary to have Pitts lining up out wide more often to help mitigate a weakened receiving corps.
We’ll see how all that shakes out, but Firkser should be a quality addition and provides another proven pass-catching option for a Falcons team in desperate need of just that. Give him a warm welcome, if you would.