Tight end Ladarius Green is off to fill some big shoes after signing a four-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The deal is reportedly worth $20 million, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Despite playing in the shadow of future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates during his four seasons in San Diego, Green remains one of the most promising young tight ends in the league and now has the tall task of helping Steelers fans move on from the Heath Miller era.
Primarily a backup since being drafted by the Chargers in 2012, Green's raw stats are hardly impressive. Before last year, he'd never caught 20 passes in a season and had just three touchdowns in 34 games played. He did average a solid 16.5 yards per catch in those three seasons, flashing the potential to be a dynamic and productive receiving threat despite his limited opportunities.
Green was finally given a chance to shine at the beginning of 2015 when Gates was suspended for the first four games, and he delivered with a strong performance in September and October. He caught four touchdowns in his first six games, averaging 51 yards per contest, and looked to be establishing himself as solid option in the Chargers' passing game.
Plagued by injuries and reduced to a part-time role with Gates back in the lineup, however, Green disappeared in the second half of the season. He didn't score after Week 7 and never caught more than two passes in a game during the final two months. With Gates re-signing with the Chargers, it didn't make much sense for Green to return to San Diego.
Green's youth (he doesn't turn 26 until May), athleticism and upside makes him an attractive offensive weapon, though his inconsistency and lack of track record are potential concerns going forward.
The Steelers could be a great fit for Green, though. Miller announced his retirement in February after 11 seasons and 6,569 yards in the Pittsburgh offense. That leaves a void that Green can quickly fill in an offense that is well suited for his talents.
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