The Philadelphia Eagles are looking for a fresh start in 2013, and Tuesday’s signing of tight end/full back James Casey to a three-year, $14.5 million deal was one of the moves made in their continuing offseason roster makeover. The prospect of being part of new Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly’s offense puts any player on the radar of fantasy football owners, but what are Casey’s chances to make a significant impact in 2013?
Casey spent his first four NFL seasons with the Houston Texans, and set career-highs in receptions (34), receiving yards (330) and touchdowns (three) last season while also starting nine games. The Texans asked him to play a lot of full back, not too surprising considering their fairly run-heavy offense, but he showed he is a capable pass catcher in 2012 and is a natural tight end.
There are questions about how the offense Kelly ran at Oregon will translate to the pro level, and what if any tweaks he will make with the move to Philadelphia. But he certainly knew how to recruit to the system and get the most out of his players by accentuating their strengths. That eye for talent is unlikely to go away in the NFL, and Kelly surely had some say in the decision to sign Casey.
Brent Celek is ahead of Casey on the tight end depth chart for the Eagles, and there’s no reason for his role to diminish much in 2013. But Casey’s versatility should keep him on the field a lot, and he is potential mismatch for opposing defenses if he sees time as a slot receiver in Kelly’s spread offense.
The marriage between an offensive mind like Kelly and a multi-talented player like Casey is likely to be a happy one. But with the uncertainty of his role at this point, Casey will not be draftable in the vast majority of fantasy leagues this year. His versatility, while clearly his biggest strength in an overall sense, may also lead to a minimal and inconsistent role in the Eagles’ offense in terms of touches. But if Celek were to be sidelined by injury at any point next season, Casey has a chance to become a popular waiver wire addition in all fantasy formats.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.