The Arizona Cardinals are going to have some tough decisions to make at the tight end position for this coming season and it is going to be a battle to watch as training camp unfolds.
Rob Housler and Jake Ballard are the only two players back on the team after last season. Housler still has one season left on his contract while Ballard re-signed in free agency. The Cardinals added former Minnesota tight end John Carlson to the mix and drafted Troy Niklas out of Notre Dame in the second round. Jeff King is also hanging around but has had three knee surgeries in as many years so his chances are slim at best. Jim Dray bolted for Cleveland in free agency.
Two key questions will face Bruce Arians and the team at this position.
First, how will the depth chart shake out? Carlson should get a starting spot but the second tight end spot is up for grabs. Arizona likes to run out of that formation often so the second tight end is going to be key.
Second, does Rob Housler still have a spot on the team? Housler has been disappointing in his three seasons in Arizona. He’s caught 96 passes for 1,004 yards and one touchdown…in three seasons combined. Camp is going to be a big factor in his role with the team if he’s on the roster. The talent that the position has improved this offseason and he needs to be able to show he can compete. If he can’t, he could get axed in the final cuts and have to try and find another team to latch on to. Since he has three years of NFL service, he can’t be held on the practice squad.
Camp opens next Friday with veterans reporting and next Saturday is the first open practice.