How Serious Are The Patriots In Dallas Clark?

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 19: Dallas Clark #44 of the Indianapolis Colts watches the action during the game against the Washington Redskins at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 19, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Last week, Patriot fans were given some eye opening news when they heard word that Bill Belichick and the team brought in former Indianapolis Colts tight end Dallas Clark for a free-agent visit/workout.

The 32-year old Clark was selected as an All-Pro and Pro Bowl tight end before having back-to-back injury plagued seasons in 2010 and 2011. In his nine-year career (all with Indianapolis), Clark caught 427 passes for 4,887 yards and 46 touchdowns and established himself as one of the most dangerous redzone threats in the NFL under the direction of Peyton Manning

As a part of their cleaning house, the Colts decided to part ways with the pro-bowl tight end, making him a valuable commodity for any contending team. With many contending teams like the Broncos (Peyton's new team), Steelers or Bears possibly in the market for an upgrade at the position, why are the Patriots being the most aggressive of any team on Clark?

For one, the Patriots appear well stocked at the position from the outside. They already have Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Daniel Fells in the fold as sure bets to make the roster, with UDFA Brad Herman in the mix as well. From a depth purpose, it makes no sense.

Also, the last time I checked, those Gronkowski and Hernandez guys are pretty good, young players. At age 23 and 22, respectively, Gronk and Herndo are considered upgrades over Clark in terms of youth and effectiveness. Both performed at a pro bowl level last season, and don't show signs of slowing down anytime soon.

You can also make the argument that the team views Fells an upgrade at the position over Clark. When the Patriots signed Fells to a three-year deal earlier in the offseason, Clark was out on the market, as well. The Patriots chose Fells over Clark. So signing Clark for the need of an upgrade seems preposterous to me.

From my perspective, this seems to be Belichick and company doing their due diligence on available talent. They've worked out players from Clinton Portis to Terrell Owens. They've done this before. They're simply scanning what's out there and seeing if there are players on the open market who can "help the football team win games", as Belichick phrases it. From my hindsight, this just appears to be the Patriots being the Patriots. But I could be wrong.

Is Gronkowski's ankle not fully healed? Could Fells have been signed to actually be the team's fullback in 2012, and the Pats are targeting Clark to form a three-headed monster at tight end? There's so many ways you can go with this, but what is clear is this: Dallas Clark is available, the Patriots have taken the time to work him out.

As unlikely a pairing as the former Colt and the Patriots are, might he be the newest addition to the Patriots?

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