The New England Patriots currently have 89 players on their active roster. However, only 53 of them will be able to survive the cutdowns on September 1 and ultimately make the team. Over the course of the offseason, we take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots recapture the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Today, the series continues with one of New England’s tight ends.
Name: Will Tye
Position: Tight end
Jersey number: 82
Opening day age: 26
Size: 6’2, 260 lbs.
2017 review: Having spent the first two years of his NFL career with the New York Giants, Will Tye re-signed with the team in February 2017. After two productive seasons as a rotational tight end, however, the former undrafted free agent failed to make the team again and was released during final roster cutdowns. But even if the Giants wanted to bring Tye back via their practice squad, they were unable to do so because of their city rivals.
The New York Jets claimed Tye off waivers and signed him to their own 53-man roster. He saw action in each of the Jets’ first three regular season contests and played 57.1% of offensive snaps (101 of 177) in the process, primarily as a blocking tight end. But while he was regularly used and caught four passes for 38 yards, New York decided to part ways with Tye only three games into his tenure with the team.
A few days later, the Patriots signed Tye to their practice squad. He spent the remainder of the 2017 season on New England’s developmental team and was named practice player of the week two times. After the Super Bowl, the Patriots signed the Stony Brook product to a one-year futures contract.
2018 preview: At least when it comes to the Patriots, 2018 is a do-or-die year for Will Tye. No longer eligible to make the practice squad, he needs to find his way onto the 53-man squad in order to have a future in New England. Judging by the current composition of the team’s tight end depth chart as well as his role during training camp and the preseason so far, however, it will not be easy.
As things stand right now, Tye at best appears to be the number four tight end on the team behind roster lock Rob Gronkowski and his primary backups Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister. While neither of the two is a lock to make the team, both should be considered safe at the moment due to their blocking abilities (Allen) and their growth potential in year two (Hollister), respectively.
Tye therefore has to convince the team that he is more valuable as a fourth tight end than an additional depth player at running back or wide receiver. Having played the most preseason snaps of all the Patriots’ tight ends (72 of 147; 49.0%) and registering three catches for 17 yards, he certainly is creating plenty of tape for the coaches to assist them in their decision-making process.
Ultimately, however, it still appears to be unlikely that the Patriots will opt to keep four tight ends on their opening day roster even with the questions at the wide receiver position. Because of that, Tye’s tenure in Foxboro is projected to come to and end on September 1.