Barnidge will meet with the Texans this week for a workout, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports.
With the Texans set to play Thursday against the Bengals, Barnidge won't be an option until at least Week 3, but he'll be one several tight ends to audition for Houston as the team looks to address its lack of depth at the position. With C.J. Fiedorowicz (concussion) having moved to injured reserve earlier this week and Ryan Griffin and Stephen Anderson also sidelined for Week 2 with concussions, undrafted rookie Evan Baylis, who was signed off the practice squad, will be the team's only healthy tight end for the contest. Barnidge, who has caught 134 passes for 11 touchdowns with the Browns over the past two seasons, would offer a significant upgrade over Baylis, and likely Griffin and Anderson, too. Until he signs with Houston or another team, however, Barnidge won't make for much more than a speculative pickup in most fantasy leagues.
Barnidge will work out with the Jaguars on Tuesday, July 25, Mike Kaye of First Coast News reports.
After sending Julius Thomas to the Dolphins in the offseason, Jacksonville's front office didn't do much to fill the void in the tight end ranks, bringing free agent Mychal Rivera into the fray. Rivera will join Marcedes Lewis (calf), Ben Koyack and Neal Sterling (concussion), among others, so it's logical for the Jaguars to kick the tires on another veteran TE. Barnidge parlayed a breakout 2015 campaign (79 catches, 1,043 yards and nine touchdowns) into a three-year extension from the Browns. However, he managed just 55 receptions for 612 yards and two TDs last season, spurring his former employer to move on. If he lands another contract, expect Barnidge to compete with Lewis and Rivera for top billing at the position during the preseason.
Barnidge may visit the Jaguars and Panthers after meeting with the Bills in Wednesday, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports.
Of the three teams, Jacksonville would provide Barnidge with the best shot at a role as a team's top pass-catching tight end, while he'd merely be a backup to Greg Olsen in Carolina. Buffalo falls somewhere in the middle, as Barnidge could pose a real challenge to the overpaid Charles Clay. While his fantasy production dropped off a cliff in the wake of a shocking 2015 breakout, Barnidge still produced 7.6 yards per target last season -- an impressive figure for a tight end in a terrible offense. He'll turn 33 in October.
Barnidge is visiting with the Bills on Wednesday, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports.
Released by Cleveland after the team selected fellow tight end David Njoku in the first round of the draft, Barnidge could land on his feet with a Buffalo team that has to be disappointed with Charles Clay's production through the first two seasons of a five-year, $38 million contract. The structure of Clay's deal likely will keep him on the roster for at least one more year, but the Bills would be wise to bring in some depth at the position. While unable to build on a breakout 2015 campaign in which he topped 1,000 yards, Barnidge still caught 55 of his 81 targets (67.9 percent) last season while producing 7.6 yards per target in a lifeless Cleveland offense.
Barnidge, who turns 32 in September, will thus be looking for a new job in the wake of the team's addition of Njoku in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday. Though Barnidge's 55 catches for 612 yards and two TDs last season were a drop-off from his 79/1,043/9 stat line in 2015, it's still a bit of a surprise to see the veteran tight end unceremoniously sent packing. The move clearly signifies the Browns' commitment to Njoku, a talented young pass catcher who merits immediate fantasy consideration now that Barnidge is no longer in the mix.
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