A former Patriots tight end is coming back out of retirement to join the team. The bad news is that it’s not Rob Gronkowski. The good news is that it’s the talented and experienced veteran Ben Watson.
The Patriots drafted Watson in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He spent six years in New England before leaving and spending time with Cleveland, New Orleans, and Baltimore. He has totaled 530 receptions for 5885 yards and 44 touchdowns over the course of his 14 year career. In his 2018 season with the Saints, he had 35 catches for 400 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Watson has never been considered elite at his position, but he has always been a highly valuable, well-rounded player who contributes in both the run and pass game, and provides a fantastic locker room presence.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Watson is set to sign a one year deal with the Patriots worth up to $3 million. After his signing, the Patriots tight end depth is as follows:
– Benjamin Watson
– Austin Seferian-Jenkins
– Matt LaCosse
– Stephen Anderson
– Ryan Izzo
– Andrew Beck
What this means for New England
Adding Watson does not revolutionize the Patriots offense. The 37-year-old is not going to be catching 70 passes for 700+ yards. However, he makes the Patriots tight end room immensely better. Instead of being a complete laughing stock at the position, the team now has something to work with.
Watson will provide a solid receiving target who will beat teams with experience and toughness. He will also be a reliable target for Tom Brady, and should find a rhythm with his former quarterback relatively quickly. Watson also adds help as a blocker, which was an area that needs to be filled after the loss of Gronk.