Report: Patriots Sign Visanthe Shiancoe

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 9: Visanthe Shiancoe #81 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball against the Arizona Cardinals in the first quarter on October 9, 2011 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Cardinals 34-10. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, free agent tight end Visanthe Shiancoe visited with the New England Patriots. This evening, it was reported that Shiancoe was deciding whether to sign with the Eagles or the Patriots. Now, according to ProFootballTalk's Michael David Smith, Shiancoe has settled on the Patriots, agreeing to terms on a one year deal with the team:

After drawing interest from both the Patriots and the Eagles, Shiancoe has signed this evening with the Patriots. A league source tells PFT it's a one-year, $1.2 million deal with $400,000 guaranteed and another $800,000 in incentives.

A free agent tight end who has played the last five seasons with the Vikings, Shiancoe started 14 games in Minnesota and caught 36 passes for 409 yards last season. The 32-year-old Shiancoe has played all 16 games every season of his nine-year NFL career.

This deal, with the amount of guaranteed money and incentives, reflects that the Patriots likely intend for Shiancoe to be on the team's final roster come September. Because of that, it's easy to connect the dots on Daniels Fells. Fells has missed the majority of offseason activities due to a leg injury that was initially considered routine. However, he was placed on the active/PUP list to begin training camp, and with the Shiancoe signing, it appears likely that Fells could be out for an extended period of time, and could land on the reserve/PUP list. I find it unlikely that the Patriots would keep four tight ends on the active roster.

So what type of player are the Patriots getting in Visanthe Shiancoe? A real solid red zone threat with playoff experience, and someone who can likely contribute as a blocker as well (although PFF has given him pretty awful run block ratings over the course of the past three seasons). Shiancoe has the size to contribute as a traditional tight end in three tight end sets, and although he regressed in 2011, he should still be skilled enough to be a solid #3 tight end for the Patriots, in the event that Daniel Fells isn't healthy at the start of the regular season.

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