New England Patriots Sign Fred Davis, Bolster Tight End Group


Overlooked yesterday amidst the release of Kyle Arrington and the continued Deflategate chaos was the New England Patriots’ signing of veteran tight end Fred Davis. One thing is for sure: the Patriots are going to have the NFL’s best group of tight ends in 2015.

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Schefty was the first to break the news.

Of course, yesterday wasn’t the best day to talk about real football. The punishment handed down to Tom Brady and the Patriots hogged the headlines.

Davis adds another layer to an already stout depth chart. Scott Chandler, Tim Wright, Michael Hoomanawanui, and A.J. Derby will contend with Davis for the spots on the final roster behind Rob Gronkowski.

Now, keep in mind that Davis faces an uphill battle to make the roster. He hasn’t stepped foot on an NFL field since 2013, and in that season he only hauled in seven passes for 70 yards and a score.

In signing Davis, the Patriots are hoping that the veteran can play like he did in the 2009-2012 seasons. In that span, Davis caught 152 balls for 1,946 yards and 12 touchdowns and was one of the more effective tight ends in the entire league.

It’s all well and good that the Patriots are compiling a bunch of tight ends in May, but it means that some tough decisions will have to be made in August and September. The only sure bet, of course, is that Gronkowski will make the team.

As for the other five guys, it’s pretty up in the air. The rookie Derby faces the longest odds because he is raw, having only played one season of tight end. Hoomanawanui is useful as a blocker, but he could be cut if the Patriots want more out of their tight ends in the passing game.

At 6-foot-7, Chandler will probably make the team. The thought of Gronkowksi and Chandler on the same field will almost certainly be too tempting for the Patriots to pass-up.

That narrows it down to Davis and Wright. A consistent contributor last year, Wright has the upper hand on Davis until proven otherwise.

Davis had better hope that the Patriots take four tight ends on the final roster, or his time in New England will be short-lived. That being said, this writer is perfectly fine with the Patriots signing an established veteran tight end that can offer another dimension in the passing game.