The Cleveland Browns may have jettisoned veteran tight end Gary Barnidge from their organization immediately after drafting David Njoku in the first round, but there are three other fan bases in the AFC North right now hoping that their team gives him a call. And Barnidge is hoping one team’s number in particular shows up on his caller ID.
Barnidge is just two years removed from a breakout Pro Bowl season, even though his number last season—playing with literally five different quarterbacks—took a hit. Many, I imagine, are viewing him as a one-hit wonder, since he bettered his numbers in his first six years in just one season.
But at 31, he believes that he still has plenty to add entering his ninth season, especially because of the little wear and tear that he suffered earlier on in his career. He caught just 18 passes in four years with the Panthers to start out.
The free agent recently spoke with Glenn Clark Radio about his status at the moment, and while he said that he is “in no hurry”, he added that he is staying in shape and will “be ready when that call comes. I’m in no rush right now”.
Of course, training camp is still a few weeks away, so there really is no hurry, since nothing of football importance will be happening between now and then. But it’s never easy to be a veteran and find yourself unemployed during the summer.
He told the host that he is wondering if the Baltimore Ravens are interested in signing him. After all, they have been seeing him on the field twice a year for the past four years, so they should have a pretty good understanding of the kind of player that he is.
The Ravens, of course, have already lost Dennis Pitta, likely ending his career with a third hip dislocation. They also saw Darren Waller hit with a year-long suspension. In the meantime, virtually everybody else—Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams and Benjamin Watson—are recovering from injuries or surgery.
Nick Boyle, who was suspended for 10 games last year, is the only tight end on the roster who is entirely healthy right now aside from Ryan Malleck, a journeyman who has never made a roster before. He was with the Steelers earlier this spring before he was released.
“They have to call my agent”, Barnidge said about the Ravens. “They know who to call and who to contact and all of that stuff”, he continued, adding, “I just know we haven’t heard anything yet, which is fine”.
He said that while he is more than willing to be the number two tight end, he believes he is still capable of being that top player after spending most of his career being the second guy. Whether or not he gets that chance remains to be seen, but it doesn’t look too great right now. Somebody will sign him during camp, but it likely will not be to start.