Denver Broncos: 9 tight ends the team could acquire for depth

Denver Broncos, Tyler Eifert. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos, Tyler Eifert. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 9
Troy Fumagalli, Denver Broncos
Nov 17, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Denver Broncos tight end Troy Fumagalli (84) walks on to the field prior for warm ups prior to a game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos have assembled an impressive 89-man roster in George Paton’s first year on the job as general manager. It’s been an absolute treat to watch a first-time general manager work after spending so many years with another team, seeing his perspective on how the Denver Broncos were built when he took the job and what areas he felt needed to be addressed.

Throughout the offseason, NFL teams are allowed to carry 90 players on their roster, so I intentionally started this post by noting that the Denver Broncos currently have just 89.

Among those 89 players, the Denver Broncos’ official roster lists five at the tight end position:

  • Noah Fant
  • Albert Okwuegbunam
  • Eric Saubert
  • Austin Fort
  • Shaun Beyer

As of this particular point in time, players like Saubert, Fort, and 2021 undrafted free agent Shaun Beyer seem to stand a pretty great chance at cracking the Denver Broncos’ 53-man roster.

Noah Fant battled through injury to play in 15 games last season. Albert Okwuegbunam, who has been on the field at OTAs, will need time to get back to full speed recovering from a torn ACL in 2020.

Saubert was brought in shortly after the 2021 NFL Draft as a camp body who has played nearly twice as many special teams snaps as he has offensive snaps since being drafted in 2017.

Fort is coming off of a second consecutive season-ending knee injury, though his talent when healthy is fascinating.

All of this to say, the Denver Broncos could very well be in the market for some proven, capable help at the tight position. General managers have to plan for a worst-case scenario, and if Noah Fant goes down at all, the Denver Broncos tight end group is going to be reliant on Albert Okwuegbunam coming off of injury and a rather small group of guys with very little or no NFL experience.

Let’s take a look at nine guys who are either available as free agents or could be available via trade that the team should look into bringing in.

1. Troy Fumagalli (Broncos)

The Denver Broncos drafted Fumagalli in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin. The “Phantom Finger” missed his rookie season with an injury but bounced back to catch a touchdown pass in each of the next two seasons for the Broncos, and just narrowly missed having two touchdowns in 2020.

His first NFL touchdown came in Minnesota against George Paton’s Vikings…

Fumagalli is worth consideration for his experience in Pat Shurmur’s offense and his obvious ability to fit in that way. It’s telling that the Denver Broncos, to this point, have not re-signed him, but as you get deeper into the offseason, these kinds of moves tend to be made.

Fumagalli doesn’t present the highest upside of anyone on this list, but he’s certainly going to bring some much-needed depth at the position in case of injury.

In terms of snaps played, he was the Broncos’ TE3 last season.