The Denver Broncos have had a tight end conundrum all offseason, in that the position is crowded with talent. You met young Julius Thomas last night, and now you know why he was able to take over the starting position way back in OTA's. The Ravens need some help at tight end, and the Broncos have help to give. Denver has found their two tight ends of the future in Virgil Green and Julius Thomas, but they also signed two solid veterans last year prior to knowing what they had in the puppy pen. One of these veterans are very likely available for trade, since no team activates a 4th TE on game day, and the Broncos use less 2-TE sets than most. These veterans aren't some hack off the street, or another team's washed up garbage; these are names you recognize and players you know. Denver is simply crowded at the position, which means one vet likely leaves to make more room for the pups.
Jacob Tamme is a 6'3 230 pound tight end and is 28 years old. He's completely healthy and had 555 yards for the Broncos last season, starting in 8 games and playing in all 16 games. But the numbers don't tell the true tale. Peyton Manning said of Jacob Tamme late last year, "So much for us, in what we do, is how do they play Tamme," Manning said. "Some teams treat him like a receiver and some teams treat him like a tight end, so you kind of find that out, see how they handle him in the formation. He kind of makes them, the way he plays and how he plays, have that discussion and we see where that takes us."
Jacob was the "receiving" tight end last year, brought in during two-TE sets (which the Ravens play a lot of), and also split time with Brandon Stokely in the slot. Drops by Dallas Clark last night (and others) have left the fans in Baltimore reeling, and rightfully so. So it shouldn't go unnoticed that Jacob Tamme was tied for the league lead with Percy Harvin - neither of whom dropped a single pass in 82 targets.
The problem for Jacob Tamme with the Broncos is that the addition of Wes Welker marked the death of Tamme's role. Wes plays well over 80% of the snaps as the third receiver, so Tamme can't split time with him like he did with Stokely last year - and the Broncos don't run a lot of 2-TE sets either. For the Ravens, however, you won't find a better mismatch or a more sure-handed receiver than Jacob Tamme. He could make impact immediately, and his salary is affordable, at $2.625M this year and then $3M next year as well.
Next up you have Joel Dreessen. He's a very well-rounded tight end who can both block and catch equally well. At 30 years old, he started 15 games for the Broncos last season and played in all 16 of them. There's nothing about Joel that's going to jump off the page at you, as he's simply a good jack-of-all-trades who served as Peyton's in-line protector and outlet as well. He's not the mismatch that Tamme is, but he's twice the blocker. He's a top-15 starter and should not be confused as a backup. He would be an upgrade to any and all tight ends the Ravens currently have. With the Broncos, however, well again... you met Julius Thomas already. Joel Dreessen was scheduled to start for for the elite Denver offense again this year - prior to the emergence of young JT - so don't consider Joel tainted goods in the slightest. He's scheduled to make $2.5M this season and then $2.5M next season as well - a very affordable rate for such a capable starter.
He played in 75% of the offensive snaps and had a very high catch rate of over 70% as well. His total yards aren't mind blowing simply because Peyton Manning had so many other weapons - with Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker combining for 2500 yards and 23 touchdowns by themselves. But Joel could make a bigger impact and put up bigger numbers for Joe Flacco simply because he would be leaned on and needed more. He would help steady the ship in both the receiving game as well as in run-blocking and pass blocking.
It should be noted that Dreessen had a minor knee scope procedure about a month ago, but it's not an issue anybody is worried about. Team doctors would have to clear him and he'll pass his physical if he were traded. He should be ready to go within the next week.
To close, I should note that I obviously have no way to know if the Broncos are indeed seeking to trade one of these two veterans, but it's a theory I've been touting all offseason. Julius Thomas is very clearly the starter, and nothing can stop that train. Young Virgil Green is an incredibly athletic tight end and is also the best blocker on the roster. That leaves room for up to two more tight ends... just so long as it's not two tight ends who each make "starter" money. I believe one of them have to go. I'd like to trade one of them to you, in this fantasy world of mine, for a 5th round draft pick. It's a good option for both teams, and our respective GM's have a good working relationship as well. So, do we have any takers?