The Green Bay Packers may have found a potential replacement for departed tight end Tom Crabtree.
According to WCSH 6, an NBC affiliate in Portland, Maine, the Packers have agreed to a one-year deal with former St. Louis Rams tight end Matthew Mulligan.
A five-year NFL veteran from the University of Maine, Mulligan spent three years with the New York Jets before landing in St. Louis last season. The Rams released Mulligan, 28, on March 22. He was due just $725,000 in 2013.
While not a splash signing in any shape or form, Mulligan does provide value in a similar role as Crabtree has played in Green Bay over the last three seasons.
Of Mulligan’s 411 offensive snaps last season, only 93 had him run a route as a receiver. He was a run- or pass-blocker on over 77 percent of his 411 snaps. In comparison, Crabtree played 389 snaps in 2012 and was a blocker on over 73 percent of his total offensive snaps.
While Crabtree may be a slightly more accomplished receiver (Mulligan has just 14 career catches for 144 yards and one score, compared to 18, 302 and four for Crabtree), Mulligan has graded out as a better overall blocker. According to Pro Football Focus, Mulligan was the 10th best run-blocking tight end in the NFL last season; Crabtree finished 55th. Mulligan also finished 2011 in the top-10 for run blocking tight ends and graded out as a marginally better pass blocker both seasons.
According to WCSH, the Packers offered Mulligan more guaranteed money than the San Francisco 49ers, who were also interested in acquiring him. He’ll join a stable of tight ends in Green Bay that includes Jermichael Finley, D.J. Williams, Andrew Quarless, Ryan Taylor and Brandon Bostick.
Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.