The New England Patriots need to find a replacement for back-up tight end Scott Chandler because the role of back-up to Rob Gronkowski is second only to playing back-up to Tom Brady.
Chandler was ultimately a disappointment this season, especially after all of the offseason hype. Fool me once, shame on Zach Sudfeld; fool me twice, shame on...well, shame on Michael Hoomanawanui; fool me three times, and then shame on me.
The goal remains the same for this offseason: the Patriots must find a player that can not only protect the roster in case of an injury to Rob Gronkowski, but one that can also contribute on a regular basis as the 4th (behind Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and the running back) or 5th player (behind Danny Amendola or a different free agent receiver, maybe?) on offense.
Here's a list of five tight ends that could help out the Patriots offense for depth. Birthdays as of September 1st, 2016:
1. Chargers TE Ladarius Green; 26 years old, 6'6, 240 lbs. Green has toiled behind future Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates, but Gates is set to return for the 2016 season. Does Green want to join an offense that might use him on a more regular basis? Likely to receive a contract worth up to $6 million per season.
2. Colts TE Dwayne Allen; 26 years old, 6'3, 265 lbs. Allen is a beast of a blocker and a valuable receiver, but injuries in each of the past three seasons seem to have sapped his ability. A fully healthy offseason could reset his value, but his value is at a low. Could receive a contract for $2 million, with playtime incentives for up to $4 million per season.
3. Colts TE Coby Fleener; 27 years old, 6'6, 250 lbs. Partner in crime with Allen, Fleener is more of a pure receiver at the position. Fleener would be an every-snap type of player and could add another dynamic layer to the offense with Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Dion Lewis, and whatever fifth receiver interests the Patriots (Rishard Matthews? Jermaine Kearse? Maybe even Danny Amendola?). Wouldn't fill the role of Gronkowski's back-up. Will likely see an upwards of $7 million per season.
4. Bears TE Zach Miller; 31 years old, 6'5, 240 lbs. Miller has spent the majority of his career on the injured reserve, and now he's in his 30s with a breakout season. Miller will likely see a contract upward of $3 million per season, but he's a boom-bust option.
5. Rams TE Jared Cook; 29 years old, 6'5, 255 lbs. The same issues that plagued Chandler- drops, poor blocking- seem to be an issue for Cook as well, but at least Cook is far more athletic. Cook was cut by the Rams due to his cap hit and will likely see upwards of $4 million per season on the open market.