The NFL trade deadline comes next week. With its rapidly approaching arrival comes everyone's favorite part of the calendar: rumor season!
To whit, ESPN's Jeremy Folwer and Dan Graziano reported today that New York Giants tight end and former first-round pick Evan Engram is being eyed by multiple teams around the league. New York is in the midst of another lost season and Engram has failed to live up to any expectations, so he makes sense as a candidate to benefit from a change in scenery. Per ESPN:
Multiple teams are interested in Giants tight end Evan Engram. There's genuine affinity league-wide for his skill set despite the lack of elite production. The Giants could be faced with a decision on him.
Engram's potential as a quasi receiver at the tight end position is obvious. He's fast, quick, and has decent hands. He just hasn't been able to stay on the field thanks to a variety of injuries ranging in severity. If he's getting traded, it won't be for much. Regardless, someone will probably take a chance on him, especially since he's a free agent next year and a miss wouldn't impact anybody's bottom line too much. Here are four possible spots.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints have exactly one receiving threat at tight end who goes by the name of Adam Trautman. He has nine catches for 100 yards and zero touchdowns despite playing nearly 80 percent of all offensive snaps to this point. Sean Payton has not been overly reliant on the position since Jimmy Graham left, but Engram has enough talent that the talented offensive coach could find a use for him. New Orleans is still in a weird middle ground where nobody is sure if they're really contenders or not, but it's a veteran roster with no time for a losing season. Navigating the cap might be tricky given Engram's first-round salary but Mickey Loomis has never let that particular factor stop him.
The Vikings were banking on a big year from Irv Smith and then he got hurt and was lost for the season. They've gotten decent production from Tyler Conklin as the No. 1 guy but Engram would, in theory, be a big upgrade. Minnesota needs to separate itself from the pack soon if they're to make the playoffs with Kirk Cousins again and giving him as many weapons as possible is a good way to move towards that goal.
Eric Ebron (another double-E tight end!) has fallen out of favor in the Steelers' offense over the last few weeks. He hasn't played more than half of all offensive snaps in a game since Week 3. He has caught six passes for 26 yards combined over the last three weeks. Some of that is surely the aggressive decline of Ben Roethlisberger's arm, but something isn't clicking with Ebron and Pittsburgh. Engram is a low-cost flier to take; Pittsburgh will be fighting tooth and claw to make the playoffs and even the slightest contribution from the tight end position could be the difference between squeaking into a Wild Card spot and a lost season.