2020 Los Angeles Rams Positional Breakdown: Tight Finish
In the fourth episode of the 2020 Los Angeles Rams Positional Breakdown series, we’ll be looking at the tight end space. At the 2019 LA Rams, TE faced a long-awaited pass-catching threat. Tyler Higbee produced one of the best months in December to come to a close after signing (84 or more yards in five consecutive weeks) a 4 year / $ 31 million contract extension in September.
Additionally, we’ll also be looking into the option of either keeping the promising but seemingly schedule-dependent Gerald Everett after 2020 or swapping him and giving TE3 / H-back Johnny Mundt (or another TE?) A chance to play in more games than the TE2.
Will the Rams end up signing a tight end in the free agency if they’re not sold long-term at Everett, stick to the current three tight ends for the season, or even close in the later rounds? Let’s dive in.
2020: $ 8.625 million
Potential failure in 2021 (USD 1.8 million dead cap)
2021: $ 7.1 million
2022: $ 6.85 million
2023: $ 6.85 million
In the 2019 season, Los Angeles Rams fans had concerns about giving Tyler Higbee the “big” four-year extension (the extension begins next season). By the time of overtime, Higbee hadn’t shown much evidence that he was the guy the Rams stole in Round 4 of the 2016 NFL Draft: the next talent at Travis Kelce level.
Even during the 2019 season, Higbee played behind Gerald Everett until Everett was sidelined due to injury. But when December rolled around, Higbee would be running a run that a lot of people, even most of us Rams fans, will talk about for a long time.
Within five games in December, Higbee went for 522 yards at 48 receptions, finishing the season just 16 yards before five games at more than 100 yards. He would end the season with 69 receptions and 734 reception seats (both of which are Rams’ season records for tight ends). What a high mark for the tight end of the third year to prove that the contract extension was indeed a bargain.
Higbee will hope to capitalize on the momentum that brought him into the 2020 season and beyond through a spectacular December. This gives the Rams and fans a chance to see how an entire season goes on with being an integral part of the offensive schedule week after week.
Expect a monumental 2020 for Tyler Higbee, where he can easily break the records he set in 2019 and accelerate the NFL’s front runners at receptions and / or reception areas.
2020: $ 1.923 million
In the 2019 season, Everett was the first close end for most of the season until he was injured in Week 13. Then we saw Tyler Higbee in his place. When involved in the passing game, Everett was productive for most of the season, ending up 408 yards on 37 catches and two touchdowns.
Unfortunately, with Higbee being canceled in the last month of the season, Everett is in a special position. He is entering the final year of his contract (he will be an unreserved free agent at the end of the 2020 season). Coupled with his contract status and Higbee’s rise (plus Johnny Mundt, who has had a good year in the special team units and steps in admirably at TE2), the Rams have another tough decision to make.
Given that Everett was the Rams’ second choice in 2017, he knows McVay’s system and has proven himself to be a good player and a real threat after being caught (his greatest strength). There has been speculation that ahead of the 2020 season, the Rams Everett could trade as a 1-year lease to a team looking for a tight end and making up for some draft picks.
On the other hand, unlike Everett Mundt, Mundt doesn’t have much experience in gaming situations so there’s a strong possibility the Rams will keep Everett for the entire season. But will You sign it again. This is another question that nobody outside of the front office really knows.
In fourth grade of the NFL, this is the season for Everett to prove he can be a well-established close end in the league. But will it be with the Rams after the 2020 season or with someone else?
2020: ERFA (Exclusive Rights Free Agent)
Mundt appeared in 13 games last year, mostly on special teams and as a TE3 / H-Back, and showed enough in my opinion to fight for the backup tight end position. Mundt started two games last year after Everett paused, but only made it 26 yards with four catches. His development as a passport catcher isn’t quite in Everett’s league, but he has plenty of room to improve.
He joined the Rams in 2017, McVay’s first year as an unoccupied rookie, so he has the same knowledge of the crime as Higbee and Everett. Mundt saw 32% of Snap counts with the ST last year, showing that it can be a blocking / sedentary end on heavy staff to make up for Higbee, which eventually evolved as a receiver after being mostly a blocker in its early seasons has contributed.
Despite being an ERFA, Mundt has a future contract with the Rams. So expect Mundt to be back with the Rams in 2020 as a TE3 and heavy personnel specialist. But what role will he play later? Nobody knows for sure until Everett’s future with the Rams is decided.
Kendall Blanton was a vacant rookie free agent who was inducted into the Rams in 2019. In week 14 he only played in one game with four special teams against Seattle.
The 6,6262-pound end could possibly be part of the Rams again in 2020 as he’s an ERFA like Johnny Mundt. Despite only playing in one game and logging four snaps, don’t expect a jump for Blanton on the depth map as the Rams have Higbee, Everett and Mundt in the room and take up all of the season on offense. and in special teams.
Potential free agent signings:
Charles Clay (2019 Arizona Cardinals)
$ 2M 40th Rank TE (Free Agent Forecast)
The situation in the narrow end space makes it interesting to see whether the Rams will even strive for a close end in the free hand this year. It gets complicated when Tyler Higbee begins his new contract (cap hit of $ 7.1 million), along with the situation of Gerald Everett, who is still able to earn starter snaps. If the Everett Rams move on, the smart solution is to bring in a veteran who will support Johnny Mundt’s development, especially if the Rams feel he isn’t ready to play the TE2 role alongside Higbee.
Charles Clay would be a great option to help out with Mentor Mundt as he has been in the league since 2011 and has extensive gaming experience across multiple systems. Additionally, based on his experience, Clay could be a good support for Higbee in case he has to miss out on any length of time.
Last year at the Cardinals, Clay had 237 reception yards out of 18 touchdown receptions. The Rams could likely sign him on a short-term deal less than or equal to what Everett is now getting with the Rams ($ 1.923 million).
Tyler Eifert (2019 Cincinnati Bengals)
$ 4M 27th place TE (Free Agent Forecast)
If the Rams now want to do everything possible to revise the offense to make it as productive as 2018, UFA Tyler Eifert would get the league’s attention very quickly. Eifert finally got the chance to leave Cincinnati, where it has been since its design in 2013, and it is clear that he wants to go to a competitor.
The Rams are building a new stadium, hiring younger and more reliable coaches and vowing to be more balanced on the offensive. Combined with the Los Angeles lifestyle, it all adds up to him to consider LA a potential landing spot. During his seven year career, Eifert has over 2,000 reception yards with 24 touchdowns. Last year alone, Eifert had over 400 yards with three touchdowns and 10.1 yards per catch. The potential of having Higbee and Eifert together on the pitch without the broad receiver core could really open up the McVay playbook to open up the pitch not only for the passing game but also for the running game.
It’s a long shot, but if the Rams won a Super Bowl, adding a veteran like Eifert would be the next step in achieving that goal.
The 2020 season is going to be interesting just because of all of the possible storylines when it comes to the tight ending space:
- Tyler Higbee is keen to keep the momentum going after the 2019 season ends. It remains to be seen whether he can maintain this high level of play in 2020, but all signs are leaning in that direction.
- The possibility of the Rams trading Gerald Everett to save ~ $ 2 million and giving Johnny Mundt a shot as a backup / TE2.
- If Everett is moved, it would be wise to sign a free agent like Charles Clay or Tyler Eifert if the Rams don’t believe Mundt is ready to be the TE2 in McVay’s offense.
The narrow end space is certainly one that should also be observed in the off-season and in the 2020 season. What would YOU do with Everett in the 2020 season?
About the post author
Zach is a 28-year-old delivery driver and writer. Originally from Warren, Ohio, he currently resides in Lexington, South Carolina. It covers everything to do with LA Rams football.
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