Former Falcon Alge Crumpler may be the hot name on the market in terms of free agent tight ends - and that's certainly warranted - but if the Buffalo Bills have proven anything over the past two years, they are bargain shoppers when it comes to free agency. Sure, they shelled out big money to three offensive linemen last year, but as far as the "popular" names went, the Bills were cautious shoppers. Keeping the relatively anonymous signing of TE Teyo Johnson in mind, it's unlikely to believe that the Bills will further bolster their tight end ranks with a big-name signing at the position.
One intriguing free agent option, should the Bills choose to further bolster the position with a veteran, is Titan Ben Troupe. The former second-round pick in the 2004 draft entered the league with plenty of hype, but has not produced up to his talent level. Despite that lack of productivity, he remains one of the most athletically gifted tight ends in the league, and a change of scenery may allow him to come closer to realizing his potential.
Music City Miracles' Take
We owe Jimmy of Music City Miracles a stiff drink - he deserves one after granting us a third interview on a Titan free agent this week. I asked him three questions about Troupe's tenure as a Titan, and he obliged with, once again, some intriguing responses...
Troupe was highly touted coming out of college. What has hindered him from reaching his full potential?
In the beginning he was hindered because it took him a long time to learn the offense. He had a 55 catch season in his 2nd year, but missed the final 6 games of his third season with a foot injury. A couple of drops early this past season made the coaches lose confidence in him. His drops seem to just come from a lack of concentration. There is no doubt that he has all the physical tools to be a good player.
When Bo Scaife went down right before the playoffs, how adequately did you think Troupe filled his shoes?
Troupe showed that he can make plays in the passing game, but he also showed his inability to block. He is a better receiver and athlete than Scaife, but Scaife is a much better blocker.
How was Troupe best utilized? Was he better as a receiver releasing from the line, or did the Titans have more success when they split him into the slot?
He is better from the slot because he struggled to get a clean release when he started on the line. If he can get matched up in the slot on a linebacker or safety, he will win almost every time.
Troupe is an incredibly intriguing option. He was very productive in his first two seasons, totaling 88 receptions in a pretty prominent role. The last two seasons have been disappointments as Troupe has battled nagging (but not debilitating) injuries and the drops - which Jimmy alluded to. But as Jimmy mentioned, the kid has world-class athleticism, and where he lacks (blocking), the Bills are solid. He has the type of athleticism that you look for in an elite tight end, and he has the ability to turn routine catches into big plays. Alge Crumpler may be the big name, but if the Bills are looking for a much cheaper player who could have an equally big impact for the long haul (Troupe is only 25), Troupe may be just the man for the job.
OK. I've laid it on the line as far as Troupe goes; now it's your turn. Leave your thoughts and opinions on Troupe, Buffalo's tight end situation, and a potential Troupe signing in the comments section. And now, for the grand finale, Troupe's career statistics: