Best available tight end for the Rams in 2024 free agency

What better way to welcome Rams new offensive passing game coordinator Nick Caley then to sign a veteran TE who can catch and block . . .

Los Angeles Rams Nick Caley
Los Angeles Rams Nick Caley / Tyler Schank/GettyImages
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The LA Rams face a bit of uncertainty at the tight end position. And with some of the top stars in the NFL hitting free agency, many fans will undoubtedly look to the top-tier talent to bolster the roster. But I'm willing to take a different approach, and here's why:

The Rams may or may not need a new starter at the tight end position. While the recovery of starting TE Tyler Higbee is still a bit foggy, he will eventually be well enough to start once more. So does it make sense to pay top dollar for a part-time starter? Or even worse, to play while a healthy Tyler Higbee collects cobwebs on the bench?

The Rams could be eyeing the 2024 NFL Draft for an addition to the team. And in many ways, I believe that solution holds value. Not just for the 2024 NFL season, but for years to come. Rookies added in 2024 will be under contract through 2027. That is a long time in the NFL.

Still, there is the impact of adding another rookie to the roster to get up to speed in this offense. I do not believe that the team wants to lessen the opportunity to afford a greater number of offensive snaps to surprisingly effective TE Davis Allen. At least, not from what we saw of him in a limited role in 2023.

And yet, an ideal fit for the Rams roster may have just been released by an NFC West rival, the Seattle Seahawks:

While many may have overlooked TE Will Dissly as a viable option, I am excited when considering his fit in this culture and on this roster. Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 265 pounds, Dissly is a burly tight end who excels at blocking. But what I think is his greatest strength is how he becomes an unstoppable juggernaut once the football is in his hands. That was his trademark when he played for the Washington Huskies in 2017.

How about that blocking ability? Well, straight out of former Seattle Seahawks HC Pete Carroll, he was considered the best blocking tight end in the 2018 NFL Draft.

But Dissly brings more to the table than an extra offensive lineman role. In modest usage, he has put up respectable numbers as a receiver as well. And WIll Dissly's yards after the catch (YAC) average for 2023 was 7.1 yards per reception.

Year

Offensivesnaps

Catches

Yards

Catch %

TDs

YAC

YAC/R

2018

127

8

156

57.1%

2

93

11.6

2019

249

23

262

85.2%

4

70

3.0

2020

557

24

251

82.8%

2

169

7.0

2021

512

21

231

80.8%

1

143

6.8

2022

569

34

349

89.5%

3

184

5.4

2023

380

17

172

77.3%

1

120

7.1

The key to a successful offseason is not to outbid the most recognized free agents. Instead, successful teams seek the best value at thin positions to bolster the depth and talent level for the new NFL season.

Making the jump from the Seattle Seahawks offense to the LA Rams offense is the fact that the Seahawks hired former Rams TE Coach Shane Waldron as the team's new offensive coordinator in 2021. If you notice, Dissly's best career performance occurred in 2022, the second season in Waldron's offensive scheme.

Are you still turning your nose up at Dissly? How about his 2023 Pro Football Focus grade of 71.3? While there are flaws in PFF's application of objective grading, the solid grade does reflect how effectively Dissly has played with limited opportunities.

I have seen a bit of a void in the Rams offense since losing former blocking TE Johnny Mundt to the Minnesota Vikings. I believe that if Will Dissly is added to the Rams roster, the offense can reclaim that 12-personnel package option, and even see a bit of upgrade because Dissly truly is a wrecking ball if he gets the football in the secondary.

Yes, there may be glitzier options for the team at tight end. But why pay top dollar for a player to platoon with Tyler Higbee? Dissly is built for the niche role that the team has in store for 2024. And best of all, he love to compete.

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