With the murder investigation surrounding Aaron Hernandez combined with multiple offseason surgeries for fellow star tight end Rob Gronkowski, there is some uncertainty surrounding the New England Patriots at the tight end position. Even though I think the team is fine with Jake Ballard, Michael Hoomanawanui, Daniel Fells, and Zach Sudfeld for the start of the season, there is a legitimate possibility of the Patriots signing another veteran tight end to add to the mix. Hooman and Fells are simply blocking tight ends, Sudfeld is a diamond in the rough but unproven as a whole, and Ballard is the only known commodity (he is coming off of major knee reconstruction, though).
A New England Patriots helmet rests on the side line during the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss in his always-terrific Sunday “Quick-hit” column, Dallas Clark and David Thomas would his top two targets for the New England Patriots if they want to add another TE given the current Hernandez situation. What would help both Thomas and Clark is the fact that they are versatile and can play as H-backs if needed, because that’s something the Patriots like to have in TEs. I mean, Thomas was used heavily in that role when he played for the Patriots from 2006-2008, and both Hooman and Hernandez are used as H-backs by the Patriots these days.
Clark, as Reiss notes, visited the Patriots last offseason before deciding to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following an illustrious career with the Indianapolis Colts. Although 34 and with not interest this offseason, Clark showed he had it last season with a solid 47 receptions and four touchdowns. At 6’3″, Clark can be a red zone guy, and Thomas has similar size, though he is more of a blocking tight end. I would think Clark would be the more attractive option to the Patriots because of his pass-catching ability.
Reiss writes that Clark and Thomas both have reputations as great locker room guys, and that’s definitely a positive and something that is clearly true with both tight ends.
Your turn in the comments: Do you want to see the Pats sign another tight end? If so, who? What are your thoughts on these two TEs?