Rodgers could be rare pass-catcher who flourishes after leaving Packers

Green Bay Packers free agent tight end Richard Rodgers has signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, and he could experience a career resurgence as a result.

Another week, another Green Bay Packers pass-catcher departing in free agency.

Wide receiver Jordy Nelson, wide receiver Jeff Janis and, most recently, tight end Richard Rodgers have all signed with new teams this offseason.

Rodgers’ departure was reported on Wednesday by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, and it’s a one-year deal with the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

The Packers drafted Rodgers out of California in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft — oh, sorry, that’s the other one. Green Bay selected Berkeley’s Richard Rodgers in the third round of the 2014 NFL draft.

In 63 games, Rodgers notched 1,166 yards and 13 touchdowns on 120 receptions. But eight of those scores came in 2015, by far his best season in Green Bay. He also caught 58 receptions for 510 yards that year. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he saw 85 targets, as well — nearly double any other season.

With the assistance of hindsight, we can see that Rodgers isn’t built to be a load-bearing NFL tight end. But he proved his merit in Green Bay when he wasn’t asked to do more than he could handle.

Despite his size, Rodgers didn’t exceed expectations in his blocking. But he was more than reliable, hardly ever dropping the ball. His lack of speed limited him as a playmaker, and he finishes his tenure in Green Bay with a 9.7 yards per catch average.

However, it’s no secret that Mike McCarthy and the Packers offense has struggled to utilize the tight end position effectively since the days of Jermichael Finley.

So don’t be surprised if Rodgers bucks the trend of past pass-catchers who have left Green Bay only to struggle in different systems with different signal-callers.

The Eagles love the tight end position. Love it. And they needed reinforcements after cutting Brent Celek and losing Trey Burton in free agency.

Rodgers isn’t going to rack up yards after the catch in Philadelphia. But he’ll be a more-than-reliable option for Carson Wentz on short-to-intermediate passes and a special teams contributor, to boot.

Given his size and lack of yards-after-catch ability, Rodgers is also a dangerous red-zone threat, and it’s not unreasonable to think he could approach his season-high mark of eight touchdowns this season.

Who knows? Maybe the Eagles can even get a little “Philly Special” action going with Rodgers.

The Packers, on the other hand, will always remember Rodgers for this moment:

Not a bad mark to leave on a franchise.

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