Greg Olsen turned 32 years old this offseason, but he’s proven to be like a fine wine and just get better with time. He’s played 16 games in each season dating all the way back to 2008. In his rookie season with Chicago in 2007 he only missed two games. He’s recorded three straight 1,000-receiving yard seasons and he’s scored 16 touchdowns over that span. Needless to say he’s been very important for the Panthers offense.
Olsen is clearly one of the best tight ends in the league, even at his age. Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates have shown that you can tread into your mid-30’s and still produce at the position. Gonzalez recorded a 1,000-yard receiving season when he was 32. Even during his last five seasons (aged 33-37) Gonzalez’s worst season was 70 catches for 656 yards and six touchdowns. That’s still a very serviceable tight end and he didn’t miss a start in his last five years with Atlanta. Gates hasn’t been as fortunate as he’s battled injuries over the last two seasons and he’s missed seven games over that span. He’s still caught 24 touchdowns over the last three years and he’s had at least 50 catches with 540+ receiving yards in each of the last four seasons.
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So it’s possible to excel as Olsen ventures deeper into his 30’s. And with a player as durable as him there’s no reason to think he could slow down. The Panthers seem confident in Olsen going forward as they failed to draft a tight end in this year’s NFL Rookie Draft; a draft that was thought to have a nice crop of tight end prospects. Instead the Panthers took Christian McCaffrey, who is a very dynamic player that will line up in the backfield or out of the slot. This type of addition could take some of the pressure and attention off Olsen to not only free him up in the passing attack, but it could also decrease the chance of injury if there’s less attention on him.
Olsen figures to still be a key feature in Carolina’s offense for the forseeable future and he has no plans of slowing down. With Carolina passing on O.J. Howard in the draft and not bringing in a formidable replacement it appears the team remains confident in their ageless veteran.