Last Friday, the New England Patriots cut ties with tight end Alge Crumpler. Crumpler’s blocking added quite a bit to the Patriots offense in their multiple tight end formations. Perhaps it is time for the Falcons to give Crumpler a call.
Crumpler was a fan favorite during his seven-year career in Atlanta, during which he made four Pro Bowls. When Thomas Dimitroff and Mike Smith came in and cleaned house back in 2008, Crumpler’s departure was one of the hardest to bear. He is a shell of his former self at this point in his career (only 6 catches last season), but he could still bring a lot of value to the Falcons lineup.
Crumpler is listed at about 275 pounds, which may be an underestimation in some regards. He functions primarily as a sixth offensive linemen these days. He was the third highest-rated tight end in run blocking last season according to Pro Football Focus, and outranking Justin Peelle in that category each of the past three seasons.
The issue with Crumpler, and it’s probable this is a reason why he was released by the Patriots is durability. He had extensive shoulder surgery last January, and he may not be 100% recovered from going under the knife. If that is the case, then re-signing him now doesn’t make a ton of sense.
But he’s definitely someone that the Falcons should give a call and see where he is in his recovery. If he’s close to being back, then it’s well worth the Falcons bringing him in to push Justin Peelle and eventually replace him as Tony Gonzalez’s top backup. A one-year veteran minimum deal for the 33-year old blocker is a good move. Peelle is 32 himself and entering a contract year anyway, so it’s not like you’re spurning long-term for a short-term gain. Peelle’s blocking abilities have diminished since 2008 when he first arrived here. In 2009, he missed only 5 blocks. Last year, the number nearly doubled to 9. If the Falcons want to continue to run the ball effectively, and I assume they do, then they should be looking at other options for a blocking tight end.
Crumpler would be exactly that. He may only have another year or two left in him due to the rampant injuries that have slowed him down over the years, but if he had just one good year left, it would be great if he could use it to contribute to the Falcons. After all, if the Falcons refused to add a young heir apparent to develop behind Tony Gonzalez, perhaps they should go the opposite route and go old at the position.