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