As the start of 2015 NFL free agency is less than a month away, the Buffalo Rumblings series looking at potential Buffalo Bills targets continues with tight end Jordan Cameron. While an article earlier in this series highlighted Julius Thomas, many Rumblers mentioned Cameron as a more likely fit for the Bills in the ensuing discussion.
In what seems to be a developing trend, Cameron is another tight end convert who began his college sports career playing basketball. Cameron entered college as a member of the BYU men's basketball team, and he eventually transferred to USC to play football. He now joins the aforementioned Thomas, Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham, and Tony Gonzalez as former college basketball players that have made it to the NFL's Pro Bowl as a tight end.
Cameron had limited playing time and production during his first two seasons as a professional, but experienced a breakout campaign with the Browns during the 2013 season. Whether his quarterback was Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer, or Jason Campbell, the production was consistent throughout the year, as Cameron compiled 80 catches for 917 yards and seven touchdowns. Even though he was playing with three different quarterbacks, Cameron became a dangerous offensive threat and he was named to the Pro Bowl.
Despite an injury-riddled 2014 season, Cameron showed flashes of his big-play ability with a 51-yard touchdown against the Steelers in Week 6, and an 81-yard touchdown against Carolina in Week 16. He has always been a great athlete who has demonstrated good speed for a tight end, and has the ability to use his vertical leap to make the catch.
Concussions are a growing concern for players in the NFL, and Cameron has a history with them. In what should be a red flag for any team looking to sign the talented tight end, Cameron has suffered three concussions over the past three seasons. Early in 2014, it was noted by Cameron that he never considered retirement after his third concussion, but he may not have a choice should this pattern continue over the coming years.
Injuries aside, Cameron is not known for his blocking abilities, and has struggled in the past in pass protection. I don't look at these as major issues for the talented receiver, but it could be viewed as a detriment in what some assume will be a power-running game installed by Rex Ryan and Greg Roman.
Cameron displays the pass-catching abilities of the new wave of tight ends in the NFL. Unfortunately, his streak of concussions makes him a risky proposition for any NFL team. I would be hard-pressed to see the Bills make a large contract offer to Cameron, but possibly a "prove it" deal could be a viable option. While most may consider a "prove-it" deal as a one-year contract, a la Brandon Spikes, it may take a two-year deal for the Bills based on the team's issues at quarterback.