ENGLEWOOD | A person with knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press the Denver Broncos have agreed to a two-year free agent deal with former Seattle and Pittsburgh tight end Nick Vannett that’s worth $5.7 million.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because NFL teams aren’t announcing signings until all the paperwork is filed, a process that’s complicated by the coronavirus pandemic that has forced the league to ban all free agents from visiting team facilities.
At 6-foot-6 and 261 pounds, Vannett will be Denver’s biggest tight end, and while he’s primarily built a reputation as a blocker, he did catch 29 passes for Seattle in 2018 and had a combined 17 receptions for the Seahawks and Steelers last season.
He’ll pair with 2019 first-round pick Noah Fant in the Broncos’ two-tight end sets, and his addition could spell trouble for fellow Ohio State alum Jeff Heuerman, who’s been plagued by injuries during his five-year career and is due nearly $4 million next season, none of which is guaranteed.
Vannett was a third-round pick out of Ohio State by Seattle in 2016. Heuerman was a third-round pick by the Broncos a year earlier.
In four seasons, Vannett has 61 catches for 591 yards and four touchdowns. Heuerman, who didn’t play as a rookie because of a knee injury, has remarkably similar numbers in his four seasons of action: 63 catches for 678 yards and five touchdowns.
With Chris Harris Jr.’s departure to the Chargers this week, Heuerman is one of only three players (Von Miller, Brandon McManus) remaining from Denver’s Super Bowl 50-winning team.
As they did with Harris, the Broncos thanked safety Will Parks on Twitter Saturday following his departure via free agency. Parks has agreed to a one-year deal with his hometown Philadelphia Eagles.