Colts add another veteran to crowded tight end group

INDIANAPOLIS — The Colts have added another tight end to an already crowded room.

Indianapolis signed former Giants tight end Kaden Smith on Wednesday, releasing undrafted offensive lineman Harris LaChance to make room.

Smith, a former sixth-round pick by San Francisco, found a spot in New York and caught 52 passes for 413 yards and three touchdowns over three seasons from 2019 to 2021, but he suffered a knee injury at the end of the 2021 season and was waived in March of 2022 with a failed physical designation.

The 6-5, 249-pound tight end did not see action in a game last season

Now, Smith will try to restart his NFL career by competing against a crowded field of tight ends for a roster spot in Shane Steichen’s Colts offense. In the past, Steichen hasn’t emphasized the tight end more than most NFL teams.

With Steichen at offensive coordinator, Philadelphia essentially gave three tight ends significant snaps in each of the last two seasons, and the same was true of the 2020 Chargers offense Steichen coordinated.

Indianapolis brought back all three of the tight ends who played more than 330 snaps last season — Mo Alie-Cox, Jelani Woods and Kylen Grandson — and there will be plenty of viable competition on the practice fields this summer.

For starters, the Colts are expected to get 2022 sixth-round pick Andrew Ogletree back from the torn ACL he suffered in training camp last season, right after he’d established himself as a lock for a spot on the 53-man roster.

Indianapolis also used a fifth-round pick this April on Miami’s Will Mallory, the grandson of former Indiana coach Bill Mallory, and the Colts signed Pharaoh Brown in free agency, a veteran who’s played in 55 games with three teams over the past six seasons.

The Colts now have seven tight ends on the roster, and every one of them is either an Indianapolis draft pick or a veteran of several seasons in the NFL. When the Colts get to training camp, the battle for roster spots should be fierce.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Colts add another veteran to crowded tight end group