After months as an unsigned free agent, veteran tight end Jermaine Gresham has finally found a home with the Arizona Cardinals.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter passed along the news:
Here’s everything you need to know.
1. He Underwent Surgery for a Herniated Disk in March
The biggest question mark surrounding Gresham, 27, is his health. He reportedly signed with the Oakland Raiders back in March, but that deal quickly fell through after a physical revealed he would need surgery for a herniated disk.
Gresham has been cleared to return to action, and it will be interesting to see if he’s ready to go when Arizona starts training camp on August 1.
2. He Spent his First 5 Seasons With the Cincinnati Bengals
A 2010 first-round pick out of the University of Oklahoma, Gresham’s physical tools have always been enticing. In five seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, he flashed those tools many times, recording 280 receptions, 2,722 yards and 24 touchdowns. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2011 and 2012.
He has struggled in the past with drops and penalties, and last season he averaged a career-low 7.4 yards receptions. There were many times when he has been extremely frustrating over the last couple of years, but at 6’5″, he’s a big target who can move the chains and cause matchup problems in the red zone.
3. The Packers & Bears Had Shown Interest in Gresham
Gresham’s most recent meetings came with a pair of NFC North squads. Both, however, were looking more for depth than they were for a starter.
The Green Bay Packers have Richard Rodgers, an intriguing second-year option, and Andrew Quarless, who, despite being arrested on July 4, figures to play a significant role. The Chicago Bears have Martellus Bennett, who recorded career highs in receptions (90), yards (916) and touchdowns (six) last year.
4. The Other Tight Ends on Arizona’s Roster Have Combined for 8 Career Receptions
Arizona’s depth chart at the position is incredibly thin with Troy Nicklas (three career receptions), Ted Bolser, Darren Fulls (five receptions) and Ifeanyi Momah heading into training camp. The team also added Gerald Christian with the final pick of the 2015 draft.
It’s not exactly difficult to see why Gresham, who is on a one-year “prove-it” deal, picked Cincy. Barring an unforeseen circumstance, he’ll be an immediate starter with plenty of opportunities to prove himself.
5. He Has Experience With Carson Palmer
Fortunately for Gresham, who is coming in late, he may not have much trouble gelling with the quarterback. He and Carson Palmer played together in 2010, combining for 52 receptions, 471 yards and four touchdowns despite the fact Gresham was only a rookie.