Hernandez's $40M Pats deal, versatility send message to rest of NFL

The Aaron Hernandez deal for five years and $40 million just set the bar for the new, all-important hybrid, a player who isn't the starting tight end but a guy that can line up in multiple spots to include tight end, slot receiver, H-back, fullback and even running back.

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With a guy like Hernandez a team can go no-huddle and get in any formation, which means the defense can't get set up right against that formation.

 If they come out in base defense, Hernandez splits out and a passing match-up issue surfaces.

 If the defense comes out in a sub package he can line up anywhere to give the Patriots a power run look.

As I finish up my summer camp tour and watch preseason games, I see a number of teams trying to develop their own Hernandez-type player.

Those players may not be able to do every little thing Hernandez can, but they all know what the young tight end just got paid and what might be waiting if they develop quickly.

The Denver Broncos knew what they were getting when they signed Joel Dressen from the Houston Texans , and he is already lining up everywhere on the field.

Keep an eye on the following players this season as they are given the opportunity to be Hernandez types: David Nelson ( Buffalo Bills ), Niles Paul ( Washington Redskins ), Jordan Cameron ( Cleveland Browns ), Bear Pasco ( New York Giants ), Dennis Pita ( Baltimore Ravens ), Delanie Walker ( San Francisco 49ers ), James Casey (Texans), Evan Rodriguez ( Chicago Bears ), and D.J. Williams ( Green Bay Packers ). By the end of the season at least one of these players will be asking for a Hernandez-type deal.

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