July 27, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Visanthe Shiancoe catches a pass during training camp at the team practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE

New England Patriots Visanthe Shiancoe in tough spot

With Visanthe Shiancoe still out with an undisclosed injury, one can begin to wonder if the New England Patriots have any place for the former Minnesota Vikings tight end. Daniel Fells is getting healthy again, which puts Shiancoe in an extremely tough spot. If he doesn’t get healthy within the next six days, then he will most likely be cut.

On Monday, the Patriots will be dwindling their roster down to 75 players which means ten players will be cut from the 85 who are currently on the roster. Visanthe Shiancoe isn’t the only injured player in a tough spot, but he is a significant one.

His spot on the 53-man roster is far from guaranteed, and part of his hopes rest on whether or not the Patriots are willing to carry four tight ends on the roster if one is not healthy. Since Fells’s leg is healing and he has been off the PUP list, he is clearly above Shiancoe at this point. He’s also the better player and offers much more as a blocker, which is something that helps the Pats more. Shiancoe adds another dimension with his pass-catching and is a useful tight end, but he’s also not healthy and doesn’t provide as much value as Fells.

The thing is, Shiancoe, if healthy, provides good depth at the position and is an above-average tight end overall. If he can get healthy within the next six days, then I think Shiancoe makes the roster. If not, then he’s going to get cut which hurts the Patriots depth at the position. Jonathan Fanene’s injury and subsequent release already forces guys like Ron Brace and Brandon Deaderick to step up at defensive tackle, but the Patriots don’t have anything beyond Shiancoe besides Alex Silvestro. It will be interesting to see how Bill Belichick handles this situation, but one thing working in Shiancoe’s favor is that he received a $400,000 signing bonus and was signed pretty recently in late July.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

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