I spent some time watching Kyle Rudolph last year because there were rumors that he was a cut candidate. At the time, Jonnu Smith was still an unknown and Anthony Firkser flashed good things, but he was hardly a proven commodity.
Recently, Rudolph was a cap causality on a roster that has spent some draft picks on tight ends in recent history. The Vikings just couldn’t afford to pay him what he was scheduled to make so both parties moved on.
As a free agent prospect, he is a 32-year-old tight end who can block well enough to play in every situation and who spent the majority of his snaps inline in a zone-blocking scheme. That is almost word for word what the Titans will be looking for in their TE2 role this offseason.
I think that Jonnu Smith is likely to return on a franchise tag and Rudolph could be a slight upgrade as a TE2 opposite him. For those worried about Anthony Firkser, I think people forget that he played the bulk of his snaps in the slot and hasn’t done much of anything as an inline blocker in the NFL.
His big connection to the team is new Titans OC Todd Downing who was in charge of tight ends in 2018. That just so happens to be the second most productive season of Rudolph’s career.
Speaking of productive, he is actually coming off of a season where he racked up 9 yards per target. According to Stathead, that was the 8th highest mark among tight ends last year.
Rudolph is a fit for this system, fits a need, is a consummate pro, will likely be cheap, and he won’t count against the compensatory formula. I would have no problem reuniting him with Todd Downing.