The Patriots are set to enter the free agency phase of the 2016 off-season and we’ll explore some of the biggest needs of the team moving forward. And some of the names of their own free agents as well as some of their potential targets.
Next up on the free agency positional list: Tight Ends
Team Need: Medium
Returning players: Rob Gronkowski, Michael Williams, Scott Chandler, A.J. Derby (IR)
Free Agents: none
The Patriots entered 2015 with a pair of big tight ends in Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler and the hope that the “Twin Towers” would be able to improve on an already potent offense. QB Tom Brady worked with the two tirelessly over the spring and summer, as they worked on getting both involved, especially in the red zone.
Gronkowski was entering 2015 healthy for the first time in a few years and it was thought the addition of Chandler would be a difficult one to stop. Things didn’t work out that way. Gronkowski had a fantastic season and caught 72 passes for 1176 yards, good for a stellar 16.3-yards per catch average and 11 touchdowns. He battled injuries late in the year but was Brady’s go-to guy for much of the season.
Chandler had a disappointing 2015, his first with the team. He caught only 23 passes for 259 yards and four touchdowns. After he had his best two statistical games against the Broncos and Eagles with Gronk out, he didn’t catch a single down the stretch and was relegated to the 3rd TE spot behind blocker Michael Williams.
Now the team has to decide whether to bring back Chandler who also battled injuries last season for a second go around and cover his cap hit of $3 million-dollars or cut him for a savings of $2.05 million. The value for that production says no but like Brandon LaFell, they’ll have to ask themselves if his lack of production was tied to not being completely healthy or was is just a poor fit?
After Gronkowski, the receiving options currently on the roster are limited to very little if they cut loose Chandler. Williams is a blocking tight end and Derby, a converted quarterback was never completely healthy and is pretty much an unknown quantity at this point.
If they delve into free agency here are a couple of names that could be of interest…
Posted Under: Patriots Commentary
Tags: 2015 NFL Season 2015 Patriots 2016 free agents 2016 NFL off-season 2016 Patriots Roster 53 Man Roster Projection A.J. Derby Benjamin Watson Bryce Williams Dwayne Allen Jared Cook Jerrell Adams New England Patriots NFL Patriots Patriots free agents Patriots tight ends Pittsburgh Steelers Rob Gronkowski Scott Chandler. Michael Williams Tom Brady Tyler Higbee