By Colin Richey
Tight end Chris Manhertz ‘14 signed a two year, $6 million deal with $3.34 million guaranteed with the Denver Broncos last Wednesday, after reportedly agreeing to the deal on Monday evening according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
When speaking to Denver reporters after officially signing his contract, Manhertz explained that a big reason he decided to sign with the Broncos was because of new head coach Sean Payton and his reputation of creating a good culture and successful team in New Orleans with the Saints.
Manhertz explained that Payton was, “one of the first coaches to give me a shot,” referring to 2016 when he made his NFL debut as a member of the Saints.
The tight end most recently played with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he caught six passes for 42 yards in 2023. Known for his skills as a blocker, Manhertz played 38% of the offensive snaps and 37% of the special teams snaps for Jacksonville this past season according to Pro Football Reference.
Manhertz is now one of just three tight ends on Denver’s roster, and has a good chance to make the team in 2023. Presumably ahead of him on the depth chart are Greg Dulcich, who caught 33 passes for 411 yards and two touchdowns in his rookie year, and Albert Okwuegbunam, who had just ten catches for just 95 yards and one touchdown last season, according to Pro Football Reference.
The 30 year old tight end graduated from Canisius in 2014 where he played basketball, and made the switch to the NFL in 2015, where he walked on for the Buffalo Bills. Although he didn’t make the roster heading into the preseason, he signed with the New Orleans Saints and made their active roster in 2016.
After being waived, he was claimed by the Carolina Panthers, where he began to forge a prominent role as a blocking tight end, and stayed with the team until the end of the 2020-21 NFL season. He then spent the next two years in Jacksonville, where he caught former No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence’s first NFL passing touchdown, according to ESPN.
Manhertz is one of just 16 Canisius alumni to play in the NFL, and the first since 1987. He’s already the second longest-tenured NFL player from Canisius, and simply needs to play in 2023 to tie the record of eight years in the league for a Griffin, according to Pro Football Reference.