Fells reeled in 14 of 18 passes for 154 yards and one touchdown in 14 games during the 2016 season.
In Weeks 2 through 4, Fells led the TE group in Arizona in terms of offensive snaps. However, a stringer in the latter contest sidelined Fells with a Thursday outing on tap, allowing Jermaine Gresham to stake a claim to the starting spot. Gresham received a plurality of the workload thereafter, deviating below 77 percent of the snaps on offense just once over the final 12 contests of the year. Considering Fells' age (he turns 31 years old in April) and Gresham's pass-catching acumen, the Cardinals may carry on with the latter as the No. 1 tight end, despite his status as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. Fells is a restricted free agent himself, but a tandem of Gresham and 2014 second-round selection Troy Niklas (wrist) could very well be the breakdown at the top of the group in 2017.
Fells was limited in practice both Wednesday and Thursday, but returned in full capacity Friday. He projects to assume his usual role as the Cardinals' No. 2 tight end behind Jermaine Gresham.
The tight ends in Arizona are typically assigned blocking duties and only rarely become part of the passing attack, but two absences from Fells have quelled his production, as he's gathered in nine of 10 passes for 61 yards in six games. Once given the all-clear to return, he'll work in tandem with Jermaine Gresham as the top tight ends in Arizona.
Head coach Bruce Arians suggested Fells wouldn't miss any games, but it turns out he'll be out for at least one week. His absence shouldn't have much impact on the Arizona passing game, as Jermaine Gresham has been operating as the top tight end.
On Monday, head coach Bruce Arians relayed that Fells would be a limited practice participant this week as a result of an ankle injury, but otherwise he'd be OK moving forward. Back-to-back absences don't support such a sentiment, so the release of Friday's injury report will be key for Fells' availability in Week 8. His health aside, Fells has been outsnapped significantly by Jermaine Gresham in recent weeks and is on pace for a similar breakdown Sunday at Carolina.