The loss of New York’s 2012 tight end, Martellus Bennett, to the Bears garnered more headlines than the signing of former Oakland Raider Brandon Myers. Maybe it had to do with the fact that Bennett was the first NFL free agent to ink a deal this offseason and that he did it for a lot more money than Myers.
Nevertheless, the Myers signing was a great move by Big Blue for a variety of reasons.
The cap-friendly contract is a good place to start. While the total deal spans four years and is worth $14.25 million, the final three years are voidable. In essence, then, the contract only guarantees Myers $2.25 million for the 2013 season. On the flip side, Bennett’s contract runs through 2016 and is guaranteed for over $9 million.
In terms of his 2012 performance, Myers quietly had a tremendous season as a pass-catcher. He hauled in 79 receptions for 806 yards and four TDs. He was also sure-handed and reliable, catching 78.2 percent of the passes thrown to him. This was a better percentage than the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten and Jimmy Graham.
His 10.2 yards per catch was low, ranking 13th out of the 18 tight ends with at least 50 receptions. To be fair, though, Myers wasn’t exactly surrounded by receivers that drew a lot of attention in Oakland. The trio of Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Rod Streater are average at best, which didn’t allow Myers a ton of opportunities to get overlooked and make big plays down the field.
One knock of Myers is that he is a terrible run-blocker, but this criticism may be overblown. It is true that he did have a -20.4 Pro Football Focus rating (subscription required) in this category in 2012, the worst among all tight ends. However, based on analysis done by Jimmy Kempski at Blogging the Beast, Myers is not as bad a run-blocker as this rating indicates.
He’ll also have the good fortune of working with tight ends coach Mike Pope in 2013. Pope is one of the best at what he does in the NFL and has had a knack of coaching strong run-blocking tight ends in recent years. Since 2008, the worst run-blocking PFF rating by a Giants starting tight end was -0.3 by Jake Ballard in 2011.
Myers may never be a great run-blocker but he figures to be an adequate one under Pope. This will allow him to stay on the field enough to make a significant impact in Big Blue’s passing attack.