In the spirit of panic and dread, I've assembled (alphabetically) a list of tight ends who have been mentioned by a sportswriter, fan, or blog, as options (available now or in the immediate future) for various teams needing to fill the tight end position. And as you can guess, it isn't pretty.
My personal first option would be pictured above, the lovely Evan Rodriguez, whom the Dolphins claimed off waiver wires, and plays fullback and tight end. I suggest a try out at tight end. As of,...oh, right now.
Drum roll please...
Ballard, Jake (Patriots) Not expected to be available. Ballard was on the roster bubble, but is now expected to open the season as the Patriots in-line tight end, in Gronk’s old spot. Zach Sudfield will take Hernandez’s spot. UPDATE 8/30/13 Patriots waived Jake Ballard. Reports are that after starting camp strong, he’s slowed and stiffened, after recent ACL reconstruction and micro fracture surgeries.
Beckum, Travis (FA Giants) On injured reserve after torn ACL in 2012. He maintains he is healthy and there have been inquiries by some teams. It’s unlikely he’s picked up, though.
Boss, Kevin –(FA released by Chiefs) mentioned by PFT and Kevin Nogle. Not expected to play again due to concussions per PFT. Not medically cleared to play per Rotoword. Not an option.
Celek, Brent (Eagles) – Talented TE with concussion history, mentioned in several places as a possible roster bubble player after the Eagles picked up Ertz and Casey. Celek is owed 3.25 million this season. However, Chip Kelly insists his TE’s will be a big part of his offense. Celek was targeted 7 times, caught 4 passes for 54 yards in Saturday’s game.
Charles, Orson (Bengals) – Converted from TE to FB. Initially some fans thought he’d be cut if the switch didn’t work, but seems to be playing well.
Fells, Daniel (Patriots) - Released 8/30/13. Journeyman TE. Primarily a blocker with decent hands.
Furstenburg, Matt (Ravens) – Picked up as UFA by Ravens. On roster bubble because the Ravens picked up Visanthe Shiancoe and Dallas Clark, and have Billy Bajema and Alex Silvestro. However, as of Sunday, August 25, 2013, they cut veteran Shiancoe, which may change things. Update 8/25/13: Matt appears likely to make the roster. They are impressed with him and felt comfortable releasing Shiancoe in part, because of Furstenburg's up-arrow. UPDATE 8/31/13 Furstenburg has been cut by the Ravens, as reported by Aaron Wilson. UPDATE 9/1/13 Furstenberg has been signed to the Ravens practice squad.
Harbor, Clay (Eagles) – Buried on the roster as the 4th string TE, he was moved to WR this month by the Eagles, and the transition may not be successful. He may be traded or cut, and rumor was the Patriots showed interest. UPDATE 8/31/13: The Eagles have waived Harbor. UPDATED 9/1/13: Jaguars claimed Harbor.
Harris, Demetrius (Chiefs) – On roster bubble in a crowded field behind a gaggle of TE’s, including Anthony Fasano, Moeaki and the rookie Travis Kelce. As a former basketball player trying to make it as a TE, he’s a project, but when he’s cut, it’s anticipated another team will pick him up. UPDATE 8/31/13 Harris was released.
Heap, Todd (FA Waived by Cardinals 2012) – Mention by Kevin Nogle. Starter in 2012 but poor performance coming off a sprained PCL, and was cut. Not picked up in the open market due to Knee and Hamstring issues.
Moeaki, Tony (Chiefs) – Was on the roster bubble for a while, and as of 8/25/13 per Rotoworld, could possible still be cut. He’s got talent, and pass-catching skills, and word was the Patriots were looking at him after Hernandez got arrested. UPDATE 8/26/18: Moeaki just suffered a shoulder injury, out on IR. Not an option.
McMichael, Randy (FA) – Released by the Chargers in 2012. Finished that season with 9 catches for 51 yards, and functioned mostly as a blocker.
Moore, Evan ( FA Waived by Eagles this year) – Mention by PFT and Kevin Nogle. Bounced around a few teams and finally cut by the Eagles after they drafted Zach Ertz. Athletic but injury-prone. Has pass-catching skills but inconsistent.
Rodriguez, Evan – (Dolphins) Claimed off waiver wires in June, plays FB and TE. Miami started giving him work at TE position after Keller was injured. Several sources have suggested using Rodriguez as a TE as a better solution than Egnew or other replacement. UPDATE 9/1/13: Miami waived Rodriguez.
Shiancoe, Visanthe (Ravens, just released) – 33 yr old in-line TE signed by the Ravens after Pitta went down, who was just cut today (8/25). Had a good 3rd preseason game, caught 2 passes in traffic against Carolina. Previously, was on Patriots injured reserve. (Updated comment): On the Ravens Blog, it appeared the primary complaint about "Shank" was dropped passes.
Shockey, Jeremy – (FA, Panthers 2012) Dolphins had "lackluster" interest in Shockey when he was available in 2011, even though Shockey wanted to play here. He was picked up by the Pathers and suffered a concussion. Then played well, then injured his ribs and hip. Then he became a free agent again, and nobody’s signed him. Last interest was by the Eagles in 2012.
Tamme,Jacob (Broncos) 8/26/13 - Denver is expected to keep Tamme on their final roster. Denver may still be open to a trade, and they are deep at TE plus have Wes Welker. Tamme had the 2nd fewest dropped passes of all TE's in 2012, behind Anthony Fasano.
Williams, DJ (Packers) 2011 fifth round pick, projected by ESPN to be cut. Thought of as small and underwhelming athletically, he has been a back-up on the Packers roster with no clear cut roll. Practices well but doesn’t carry over to games. Struggled as a run blocker. Despite this, Williams name has come up by ESPN as a suggestion for the Pats to replace Hernandez, and a Phinsider fan mention him as a possibility for the Dolphins. UPDATE 8/31/13 The Packers have waived Williams. UPDATE 9/1/13: Jaguars claimed Williams.