It was announced this week that the New York Giants will not re-sign tight end Martellus Bennett for the 2013-14 season. This ends his short, yet impressive year in the Big Apple.
Surely, with the likes of Jeremy Shockey, Mark Bavaro, and select others, the Giants have a history of tough, productive players at tight end. But for whatever the reasons behind Bennett's departure, it marks just another instance of missed opportunities for the Giants at tight end.
Whether it be due to untimely injuries, mishandled contract negotiations, or just simply bad timing with the team, New York is familiar with wasted potential at tight end.
Below are the top five tight ends who, for whatever reason, were unfortunate enough to miss out on a solid opportunity with the New York Giants.
No. 5 Bob Tucker
The tight end out of Bloomsburg University was one of the most efficient players at the position in Giants history for more than seven-and-a-half seasons. And despite never really having a consistent gunslinger at his helm (six different quarterbacks saw play during his time in New York), Tucker managed to catch for more yards than any other Giants tight end in history (yes, even more than Shockey and Bavaro).
Tucker was a missed opportunity simply because of the dog days that were the 1970s for New York. In his Giants tenure, the team only had a winning record twice, never winning more than five games in the losing seasons in that span.
On a good New York team, Tucker could have helped lead the Giants deep into the playoffs. But considering the teams he was on, it was a wonder he was even able to put up such fantastic stats at all.
No. 4 Jeremy Shockey
It's weird even having Shockey on this list, considering that when all is said and done, he is probably second only to Mark Bavaro as best tight end in team history. But when it comes to missed opportunities with the Giants, Shockey is a poster child.
Shockey was an immediate force to be reckoned with since he came to the league and was possibly the best tight end in the league in Eli Manning's first three NFL seasons. During that three-year span, Shockey caught 20 touchdowns for more than 2,000 yards.
But the Pro Bowl tight end fractured his leg late in the 2007-08 season and the Giants then went on to win the Super Bowl without any help from Shockey. The unfortunate situation for Shockey, on top of some poor sportsmanship, made for an awkward exit to New Orleans.
In short, Shockey had the opportunity to pass Bavaro as one of the toughest and most productive tight ends in Giants history. But with an untimely injury, some poor judgment, and some clutch play by step-in Kevin Boss, his legacy is still to be determined as the years go on.
No. 3 Zeke Mowatt
The undrafted tight end out of Florida State looked like he would be one of the best players on the team for the Giants in the 1980s.
In 1984, his most productive season, Mowatt caught 48 passes for six touchdowns and nearly 700 yards. The future looked bright for Mowatt until a career-altering knee injury in a 1985 preseason game against the Steelers.
Fortunately for the Giants, it was 1985 that Mark Bavaro burst onto the scene and proved right off the bat that he was the toast of the town. Mowatt was never given the best opportunity to be missed.
Mowatt had some success in the remaining years of his career, even catching a touchdown pass in New York's first trip to the Super Bowl. But if it hadn't been for that knee injury, Mowatt (or even the combination of Bavaro and Mowatt) could have gone down in the history books.
No. 2 Martellus Bennett
In 2012, Bennett caught 55 passes for five touchdowns en route to a 626-yard season, all career highs for the tight end after playing backup in Dallas for four years.
The Giants entered 2012 with a lot of uncertainty at tight end after Jake Ballard was picked off by the New England Patriots in the offseason. Bennett helped silence any doubts right away with a touchdown in each of his first three games.
But after his surprisingly productive season, it appeared more and more that New York was not willing to pay him what would eventually be his presumed price tag ($20 million over four years, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter).
After the untimely and unfortunate departure of Jake Ballard, Bennett provided New York with unexpected amounts of productivity and consistency in 2012. It was definitely a small sample size, but Bennett certainly came out of his shell during his time in New York. Watching him grow with the Giants would have been fun.
No. 1 Kevin Boss
Boss was one of the many players who stepped up for New York in its 2007 Super Bowl run. In the game-winning drive against the New England Patriots, Boss caught a pass for 45 yards, an amazing play overshadowed by David Tyree's own miraculous play.
Boss then became one of Eli Manning's most consistent targets for his next three years, where he made 106 catches for more than 1,400 yards.
Unfortunately, Boss landed a major pay day with a four-year, $16 million deal with the Oakland Raiders before the 2011 season.
And unfortunately for Boss, his one season with Oakland didn't provide him with a passer anywhere close to Manning. And last season, he only played in two games before an injury against Buffalo.
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