Packers 2021 offseason position review: Tight ends

Green Bay Packers, Robert Tonyan (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Robert Tonyan (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Entering 2020, tight end had long been an issue for the Green Bay Packers.

They had thrown plenty of resources at the position in recent years, signing Jared Cook, Lance Kendricks, Martellus Bennett, Marcedes Lewis, and Jimmy Graham in free agency, while also using third-round picks on Jace Sternberger and Josiah Deguara in consecutive years.

Yet, it was Robert Tonyan who made all the difference in 2020.

Let’s continue our positional breakdown with a look at the tight ends.

2020 season review

For years, Packers fans had seen flashes of potential from “Big” Bob Tonyan. Or, as he should also be known, “Touchdown” Tonyan.

It was a breakout year for Tonyan, who emerged as one of Aaron Rodgers’ most trusted targets. He caught 52 passes for 586 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was particularly effective in the red zone where he caught seven touchdowns.

Marcedes Lewis has been crucial to the success of Matt LaFleur’s offense and regularly receives high praise from Rodgers. He played close to half of the Packers’ offensive snaps this year.

Unfortunately, we didn’t see the breakout season many expected from second-year Jace Sternberger. Sternberger missed four games through injury and finished the regular season with just 12 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.

Rookie Josiah Deguara looked set for a versatile role in LaFleur’s offense but suffered a torn ACL and was done for the season before he really had a chance to get going.

What’s next in 2021?

Tonyan’s breakout means the Packers don’t need to make tight end a priority as they have done in recent years. He is a key part of LaFleur’s offense and will continue to be a reliable target for Rodgers in 2021.

One player the Packers may have to replace is Lewis, who is a free agent. Set to turn 37 in May, one has to wonder whether Lewis has played his final snap in Green Bay.

The hope will be for a third-year jump from Sternberger. It can take time for tight ends to emerge in the NFL; Tonyan is proof of this. Deguara returning from injury will also help the offense.

There are some questions entering the offseason, but with Tonyan, the Packers are set at the TE1 spot.

Next. 3 free agency targets for the Packers in 2021. dark