The Carolina Panthers mutually parted ways with their long-time tight end Greg Olsen. Olsen leaves the Panthers third in franchise history in receptions and receiving yards, and fourth in touchdown receptions in team history. However, at age 34, and with the injuries, he sustained over the past three seasons (has missed 18 games combined over that time) the two sides have gone in different directions.
Now the 13-year veteran is looking for a new team as he has scheduled visits with several teams including the Buffalo Bills. Olsen and the Bills certain have a lot of ties as Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane worked for Carolina during Olsen’s time with the team. This week’s Thursday Thought: Should the Bills sign Greg Olsen?
Let’s start with why the Bills should sign the veteran tight end. Olsen’s career speaks for itself. He has over 700 career receptions, over 8,000 career receiving yards and 59 career touchdown receptions. He’s an established veteran that may one day see his name in Canton. He’s had a ton of experience playing in 188 career games including Super Bowl 50 with the Panthers.
He also had a solid season with Carolina this past year. Olsen caught 52 passes for 597 yards and two touchdowns. Olsen’s yards and receptions are more than Buffalo’s entire tight end room combined this season. Not only is Olsen still a relatively productive tight end in the NFL still, but he also put up better numbers by himself than all four of the Bills tight ends.
Lastly, Olsen brings veteran leadership, which is something that both McDermott and Beane value tremendously. Since their arrival in 2017 here is a list of some of the older veterans they have brought to be leaders in the locker room: Mike Tolbert, Taiwan Jones, Derek Anderson, Rafael Bush, Frank Gore, and Kurt Coleman. They like older players who can set the tone and culture for the younger players to follow.
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for Greg Olsen and the prospect of the Bills signing him. For one thing, Olsen is not the same player he once was. His stats have been on a steep decline since 2016, his last 1,000-yard season. Over the last three season combined Olsen has just 1,079 yards, seven touchdowns, and just 96 receptions. His production is not at the same level it was a few seasons ago.
Also, as mentioned earlier Olsen has not been healthy over the past three seasons either. He hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2016, He’s only played in 30 of a possible 48 games over that stretch as well. Olsen may be a great player in the locker room, but the Bills need production on the field too and Olsen playing each week is not a sure thing.
Should the Bills sign Greg Olsen? Yes, they should. Olsen would be Buffalo’s best tight end the day he gets to One Bills Drive. If healthy, he can still give you solid production from the tight end position. However, the biggest reason why the Bills should sign him is what he can do to Tommy Sweeny and Dawson Knox. Olsen is about as good as a mentor as you could ask for at tight end. Knox and Sweeny, two very young players, could benefit so much from learning behind one of the best tight ends over the past decade. This would help the Bills win now but this move if it’s made, will help the Bills win even more in the future.
Mitch Broder is a contributor for The Buffalo Fanatics. To contact him, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mitchell_broder