Over the course of the offseason, the New England Patriots have made some upgrades - for now at least on paper - at both running back and wide receiver. However, the team also addressed its tight end position: With Martellus Bennett leaving town, the world champions traded for the Indianapolis Colts’ Dwayne Allen.
While Allen was the most noteworthy addition, he was far from the only one. New England also acquired Rob Housler, James O’Shaughnessy and undrafted rookie Jacob Holister. After adding what appears to be sufficient depth to the position, the team decided to let one of its returning backup players go.
According to a press release, New England opted to release tight end Michael Williams today. After having spent all of 2016 on injured reserve due to an ACL injury and the recent additions to the tight end corps, the veteran was a long shot to make the team anyway.
The 26-year old originally entered the NFL as a seventh round pick by the Detroit Lions in 2013. After moving from tight end to offensive tackle, New England traded a seventh rounder for Williams in August 2015 and converted him back to his original position. In his first year in Foxboro, he appeared in 17 overall games, mostly as a blocker.
Coming back from the above-mentioned ACL tear, Williams’ odds of making the team did not look good. After all, he not only faced competition from the tight ends under contract but also from fullback - and roster lock - James Develin, who served as the team’s leading blocker during the 2016 season.
The transaction creates one open spot on the Patriots’ 90-man roster, while it leaves the tight end depth chart as follows: