RICHMOND, Va. – The Redskins have signed free agent tight ends D.J. Williams and Ernst Brun, Jr. to contracts and placed tight ends Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen on injured reserve.
Williams was a fifth-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2011 and has also seen limited time with New England, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. He’s 6-foot-2, 245 pounds and still just 26. A long-time reserve, he’s only started two NFL games.
Brun had an injury-plagued senior year at Iowa State in 2013 and went undrafted. But he did catch six touchdown passes as a junior with the Cyclones.
“We’re just going to give him a shot,” Washington coach Jay Gruden said. “He’s a young kid that Alex Santos and our scouting staff found and thought he deserved an opportunity to get a look here these next couple weeks.”
Williams and Brun join Devin Mahina, Chase Dixon, Jordan Reed and Je’Ron Hamm as the team’s healthy tight ends. Only Reed was expected to receive serious playing time this season. But season-ending injuries to Niles Paul (fractured and dislocated left ankle) and Logan Paulsen (torn ligaments, right big toe) left their depth at that position exposed. And the Redskins were searching for help at a position that has become harder to fill in recent years.
“With the college systems nowadays, with the spread, there’s not many tight ends to come out the last couple years in the draft,” Washington general manager Scot McCloughan said. “But like I said, I’ve got a great personnel staff that — they’re on it. It’s one of the positions that after the draft, we tried to facilitate and make sure that it goes forward. It’s tough. They’re out there, but we’ve just got to do what we can do.”