Parker Hesse has quietly turned into one of the offense’s essential men over the past couple of seasons. The veteran tight end is a terrific blocker, and that blocking led to him playing 62% of the offensive snaps in 2023, helping to pave the way for successful seasons from Tyler Allgeier, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Caleb Huntley.
As expected, the run-happy Falcons have rewarded Hesse for that work, re-signing him to a one-year deal. The exclusive rights free agent will be remarkably cheap for the value he provides, and will slot in as one of the top tight ends on the depth chart again in 2023.
We have re-signed Parker Hesse as an exclusive rights free agent pic.twitter.com/m5qnKkcnHh— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) February 23, 2023
Hesse is seldom used as a receiver, though he’s reeled in 14 of 17 targets over two years in Atlanta and is a useful, sure-handed option in a pinch. His real value comes from his ability to block and block extremely well, which led to him pulling down significant playing time on both offense and special teams. That’s not the kind of work that always makes highlight reels, but Hesse’s value has been noticed by fans and is celebrated by the coaching staff.
“The things we ask Parker Hesse to do that nobody will ever notice, guy just does his job,” as Arthur Smith said earlier this year. Tight ends coach Justin Peelle went further than that, per The Athletic’s Josh Kendall:
The Falcons have re-signed TE Parker Hesse as an exclusive rights free agent. Atlanta TE coach Justin Peele on Hesse: "Unsung hero. Does all the dirty work for us, really respected in this organization and by the staff and on this team."— Josh Kendall (@JoshTheAthletic) February 24, 2023
Hesse is assured a major role this coming season with Kyle Pitts, with 2022 draft pick John FitzPatrick and former undrafted free agents Tucker Fisk and John Raine likely duking it out for snaps if the Falcons don’t make further additions to the roster. Ideally the Falcons will add more pass catching options for Desmond Ridder or whoever else may be under center in Week 1, but regardless of who the Falcons sign, you’ll see Hesse active on early downs in particular doing what he does best.
We’re glad to see Hesse back, and hopefully he can help key another great year from Atlanta’s rushing attack.