Nov 6, 2011; San Diego, CA, USA; Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley (88) during a game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

NFL Free Agency 2012 Preview - Tight End

Tight End has to be one of my favorite positions in football. When these guys are good, they can be so versatile. The more versatile a tight end is, the more offenses can be customized to confuse defenses — just ask anyone taking on the Patriots this year. With that said, here are the top tight ends in this year’s free agency class.

1. Jermichael Finley – Packers

Finley is as physical and gifted a tight end as the NFL has seen in recent years. Unfortunately, his talent is still a bit raw and he has been plagued with inconsistency. With all that Aaron Rodgers did in the passing game this season, Finley had only 55 receptions for 767 yards and 8 touchdowns. Then there’s his price – Finley would probably cost Green Bay annually as much as Aaron Rodgers base salary, which might make them nervous given his mediocre performance in 2011. With that being said, Finley has such enormous upside and talent that he will command a hefty paycheck should the Packers neither re-sign him nor hit him with the franchise tag.

Possible landing spots: Any team in the NFL (literally)

2. Fred Davis – Redskins

Davis may not be on the same level as the likes of 3G — Gates, Graham and Gronkowski — but he is a beast of a receiver, who has come out from under the shadow of Chris Cooley in the past 18 months. However, he was suspended for four games at the end of the 2011 season for breaching the NFL’s drug policy. The fact that he was suspended means he has been caught several times and this is going to scare away alot of teams. Because of this, most expect he will re-sign with Washington since there is not only the familiarity with the team, but also the fact that they will likely pay him more than anyone else. Applying the franchise tag on Davis is unlikely given that the likely franchise salary for a tight end is about $5.5 million and the Redskins have alot of other holes to fill and also want to go after a number of high profile free agents.

Possible landing spots: WAS, STL, CLE, TB, JAC, MIA, KC, SEA, ARI, SD, CHI, OAK, DEN, NYG

Watch out for – John Carlson, Visanthe Shiancoe, Joel Dreessen, Scott Chandler, Jeremy Shockey

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