The 2014 second-round selection was released by the Bucs in September after being charged with a DUI, and the Jets then claimed him off waivers and used him in a minor role throughout the rest of the season. Seferian-Jenkins caught 10 of 17 targets for 110 yards in seven games with his new team, also missing a few contests due to hamstring and ankle injuries, and thus failing to play double-digit games for a third time in three NFL seasons. While he still needs to serve a two-game suspension for the DUI, it sounds as if Seferian-Jenkins has finally turned his full attention to football, undergoing what his agent referred to as a "mental and physical lifestyle change". He'll still need to prove himself in training camp and the preseason, but the Jets don't have much in the way of other talent at a position they hope to involve in the passing game for the first time since 2014. Seferian-Jenkins has a real shot at the lead role once he returns from suspension in Week 3.
Less than six months removed from the third back surgery of his career, Gronkowski doesn't seem to have any practice limitations, though the story may be different once the Patriots are in full pads for contact work. While he may still be held out of some drills as a precaution this summer, it seems the tight end has made a full recovery from the injury that ended his 2016 campaign. His ability to actually stay healthy is as big of a concern as ever, which explains why the Patriots gave him an incentive-laden contract restructure earlier in the week.
Clay made it on the field for 15 games last season, but was a regular on the injury report with issues relating to his knee. While Clay has been a bit of a disappointment since the Bills signed him as a free agent two years ago, he's far better than the next option -- hopefully McDermott means they just need to be proactive in not letting it become a major issue through rest and being smart about it, rather than being concerned it could potentially keep him out of action.
Williams spent the majority of his 2016 campaign on injured reserve with a knee injury after failing to record a single catch throughout the first four weeks of the season. According to coach John Harbaugh, the procedure Williams underwent to repair the damage was rare for a football player, but he's still expected to be ready for camp. Regardless of his health, he'll be subject to plenty of competition against a crowded tight end corps.
Saxton, who participated in a 10-player workout for the Bills on Tuesday, will provide the offense with additional size at tight end, as the South Alabama product checks in at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds. The 23-year-old has previously spent time on the Jets' practice squad, but has yet to record a single catch in the NFL. The Bills don't have any proven options at tight end beyond Charles Clay, so even though Saxton will be a long shot to make the roster, he should at least receive a long look during training camp.
The tight end's new deal is incentivized so he has the opportunity to earn as much as $10.75 million, compared to the $5.25 million he's on the books for. Gronkowski's pay raise is tiered to three different levels based on his performance next year. He'll have to achieve certain statistical marks to get raises, including playing up 70 percent of time, recording 60 receptions, or recording 800 receiving yards, among others. If he reaches the highest level and receives the $10.75 million, he will be the highest paid tight end in the league. All this hinges on his health, which was an issue last season due to back problems. However, should he remain on the field this year, it appears he'll likely be earning quite the pretty penny.
The nature of Fiedorowicz's current issue is unclear, but it's unlikely that he's dealing with any sort of severe injury at this point in the offseason. He figures to once again lead the tight end corps in Houston upon his return, but Ryan Griffin may see additional reps while Fiedorowicz watches from the sideline in the short term.
Eifert's limited participation on the rehab field comes as no surprise, while his status for training camp later in the summer remains up in the air at this point. He racked up five touchdowns in just eight games last year, and has yet to play a full 16-game season due to health issues during his first four years in the league. There's no reason for the Bengals to rush their No. 1 tight end back onto the field following December surgery, so expect Tyler Kroft (knee) and C.J. Uzomah to see additional reps throughout the remainder of the team's OTAs.
James Hanna (knee) and Geoff Swaim (foot) are both still recovering from surgery and won't be ready for action until training camp, so Gathers will be Jason Witten's primary backup for the next couple of weeks of OTAs. The 2016 sixth-round pick and converted basketball power forward has all the athletic tools to thrive in the NFL, but even after spending all last season on the practice squad, Gathers will need to continue to hone his football skills if he's going to make an impact.
The standout tight end thus becomes the first of Tampa's six draft picks to ink a contract, and given his talent and draft slot, he's expected to make immediate contributions. Howard is notably the only tight end drafted in the first round by the Bucs in the franchise's 42-year history, and his 6-foot-6 frame and 4.5 speed are expected draw attention towards the middle of the field and away from the dynamic receiver duo of Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson in the coming season.