Having just signed fellow tight end Dwayne Allen to a 4-year, $29 million contract, the Colts may no longer be able to afford Fleener given their more glaring needs elsewhere on the roster. Instead, the team may look to re-sign the more cost efficient Jack Doyle to become their 2nd tight end behind Allen.
Fleener suffered from a down season last season–much like the rest of the Colts offense, but still managed a career-high 54 receptions along with 491 receiving yards and 3 receiving touchdowns despite playing 9 games without Andrew Luck.
Originally a 2012 2nd round pick of the Colts out of Stanford, Fleener has shown flashes of his immense receiving potential, but hasn’t been able to consistently put it all together on a game-to-game basis.
At 6’5″, 251 pounds, he’s too big for safeties and too fast for most linebackers in coverage. However, he’s been marred by both consistency as mentioned, as well as concentration in his 1st four seasons with the Colts.
Still, Fleener is just one season removed from a year in which he caught 51 receptions for 774 receiving yards and 8 receiving touchdowns with the Colts.
As such, it seems like New Orleans would be a rather favorable landing spot for Fleener. The team recently lost veteran tight end Ben Watson to the Baltimore Ravens in free agency, who enjoyed a career renaissance with Brees–catching 74 receptions for 825 receiving yards and 6 receiving touchdowns this past season.
Fleener appears to be a solid consolation prize for the Saints, but it would be sad to see him leave the Colts.
Nevertheless, the NFL is a business and money talks–both ways.
UPDATED (8:15 EST): Fleener has reportedly signed with the Saints on a lucrative contract: