If the LA Rams were willing to let veteran tight end Gerald Everett sell his wares to the highest bidder via the 2021 NFL Free Agency market, the team surely had a plan for the 2021 season to cover that second tight end role this year, right? I mean, Everett was on track with the Rams for the primary tight end role, and each year the same ole “we’re going to get him (Everett) more involved” rhetoric splashed the headlines, and each year the same ole meh production.
Does that mean that this year, the LA Rams finally stop the fractioning of their primary tight end role, and finally focus upon veteran Tyler Higbee? To be honest, I truly do not see how the team can do otherwise. Higbee is an ideal size at 6-foot-6 and 255-pounds and has demonstrated that he can deliver the goods if the offense looks his way.
In the past, getting Jared Goff to look his way was problematic. If you remove that 2019 ‘anomaly’, he averaged 42 targets per year. He more than doubled that number in 2019, the year that teammate Gerald Everett struggled to stay on the field and the LA Rams struggled to run the ball. Somehow the team stumbled onto a two tight-end package that placed Higbee on the field with teammate Johnny Mundt. As Mundt handled the blocking duties, Higbee shredded defenses for over 500 years in one month’s time.
So many analysts now point to December 2019 as fool’s gold, but I disagree. In fact, I believe that recent events are even more in favor of a career-high season for Tyler Higbee. Higbee is clearly the starting tight end. He now is on the receiving end of passes thrown by Matthew Stafford, a veteran NFL quarterback who tends to target his tight ends, and Higbee is the biggest target on the field. Higbee could realistically be targetted 100+ times this season. With a completion rate that has averaged a stout 75 percent in the past two years, plus a yards-per-reception average that could top 12 yards this season, Higbee could best 900 receiving yards this year.
Too bold? If you combine Everett and Higbee’s performances in 2020, you get 938 yards. Higbee soloing could and should do better than that this year.