The NFL hasn’t been as kind as hoped to former Ohio State tight end Jake Stoneburner since he entered the league in 2013. Since then, he’s bounced from team-to-team and has been signed on and off practice squads. The roller coaster rides continues; Stoneburner was released by the Saints Monday, leaving his future for the 2017 season up in the air -- and even potentially forcing him to consider life after football:
The Buckeye has had some playing time over the past four seasons, being active for 20 games in two years — one with the Green Bay Packers (2013) and the other with the Miami Dolphins (2015). He mostly saw snaps (9) on special teams his rookie year with the Packers, but was able to contribute on offense in Miami (121 snaps).
Stoneburner was signed to the Dolphins practice squad in 2014 but was promoted to active status for 11 games in 2015. He made 5 catches on 5 targets for 47 yards and two touchdowns. His first trip to the endzone was against Jacksonville in late-September, and seemed like a momentum-building start for the tight end.
Unfortunately, he only earned one start with the Dolphins and fell off the map for the remainder of the season. He briefly — like, for two months -- signed with the Los Angeles Rams in the summer of 2016, but was released in August before being signed to the New Orleans Saints practice squad in September.
The Saints re-signed Stoneburner to a futures/reserve contract in January 2017, but had to make room for this year’s batch of undrafted free agents ahead of minicamps. Now the tight end will have to see if there is any interest from other teams.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Buckeye joined a team for OTAs or training camp, but with no practice squad eligibility left, he will need to earn a spot on a team’s final 53-man roster this fall in order to keep his NFL dreams alive.