We don't like to think about what the NFL will look like without all-time greats like Antonio Gates, Jason Witten or Heath Miller, but it will happen. And it'll happen soon.
My generation didn't want to think about an NFL without Brent Jones or Shannon Sharpe, but along came Tony Gonzalez, who sparked a change in the way tight ends play. We didn't want the game to be without Ben Coates or characters like Jeremy Shockey, but along came the athletes we have today. The game moves on even as legends walk away.
Looking ahead to the next generation, who will be the best tight end in the year 2020?
That's what this signature series aims to answer—our "20 for '20" covers who the top 20 tight ends will be five seasons from now. And if you're looking for guys like Gates or Witten—who will be pushing 40 years old in 2020—we have to project a few retirements and a few slowdowns.