After starting slowly into the NFL’s free agency period and losing star players Trey Flowers and Trent Brown along the way, the New England Patriots picked up the pace last Thursday: the team signed five players from the open market, the final of which being tight end Matt LaCosse. The 26-year-old became available after his former team, the Denver Broncos, decided against placing a tender sheet on the restricted free agent.
Shortly after arriving in New England, LaCosse spoke with patriots.com about his thoughts on joining the reigning world champions. “It’s an honor to be here,” the former undrafted rookie free agent said. “Great franchise, great players, great coaches. Just the history behind this franchise is unbelievable. Just to be here and to see all that happens here and to be a part of it is huge, it’s awesome.”
LaCosse signed a two-year, $4.8 million contract in New England, which will allow him to compete for the top tight end spot behind future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski — if, of course, Gronkowski returns for a tenth season with the club. The newest Patriot will go up against a returning group consisting of Jacob Hollister and Ryan Izzo, who both ended 2018 on injured reserve, as well as mid-season acquisition Stephen Anderson.
The most experienced player of the group, LaCosse is more well-rounded that primary receiving tight ends Hollister and Anderson. But however the team decides to use him, the four-year veteran is looking forward to the challenge. “One of the main selling points for this place is just how often they use their tight ends and how they use them in different ways,” said LaCosse during his quick availability last week.
“Blocking, pass catching off play-action: there’s so many ways the tight end can get involved, it’s exciting,” he continued. So far in his career, LaCosse has experienced both with moderate success. After entering the league with the New York Giants but appearing in just five games over two separate stints — he spent a week with the New York Jets in between — the 6’6, 255 lbs tight end was signed off the team’s practice squad during the 2017 season.
The Illinois product initially saw minimal action in Denver, but had a breakout year of sorts in 2018: appearing in 15 of the Broncos’ 16 games, LaCosse served as the number two tight end and played 38.9% of the team’s offensive snaps, while catching 24 passes for 250 yards and one touchdown — not exactly All-Pro-worthy numbers, but solid considering that he caught a mere three footballs over the first three years of his pro career.
But just as he found his footing in Denver, LaCosse was forced to leave again. However, it certainly sounds as if he is embracing the challenge. “I’m just getting to know my teammates and the coaches, diving into the playbook and getting to work,” he said before adding his main goal: “Trying to excel the best I can and help this team win.”