Patriots Off-Season Profiles: The Tight Ends
Foxborough, MA– This off-season got off to a rousing beginning for the New England Patriots as the team was coming off of the high of winning their sixth Super Bowl title in franchise history. Over time, however, there was a growing sense of melancholy, especially when longtime tight end and all-time NFL legend Rob Gronkowski announced that he was retiring.
Without Gronk patrolling the offense from the tight end position, the Patriots will certainly have an offensive hole to fill. And when that hole is Gronk-sized, that becomes much easier said than done. After all, his physical presence and athletic ability is unparalleled in NFL history. The Patriots have to say goodbye to one of the best weapons they have ever had. And Bill Belichick and the front offense have had the unruly task of attempting to replace Gronk and his production.
To begin this process, the Patriots took a spin down memory lane recently when they met with former Patriots tight end and 38-year-old league veteran Benjamin Watson about potentially rejoining New England. After spending time in Cleveland and Baltimore and then retiring as a member of the New Orleans Saints, Watson has officially come out of retirement to play for the Patriots on a one-year deal. With New Orleans last season, he caught 35 passes for four hundred yards and two touchdowns.
Also joining up with the Patriots is a tight end who has bounced around the league for many seasons, Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Seferian-Jenkins was last a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars where he caught 11 passes for 90 yards and one touchdown. Seferian-Jenkins is a formidable threat, but he is also injury-plagued and that’s what plummeted his 2019 campaign.
Whether or not two injury-prone NFL veterans are the answer to the Gronk's absence remains to be seen, but it is refreshing to see Bill Belichick not completely give up on the position in the same way so many coaches around the league have. Rounding out the depth chart for tight end are Ryan Izzo, Stephen Anderson, Matt LaCosse, Andrew Beck, and James Develin. The Gronk role is anyone’s game.
Image via Wikimedia Commons / Thalan