The New England Patriots’ tight end position has been marked by uncertainty and personnel turnover this offseason. Gone are Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister, replaced mostly by offseason additions — the latest of which being brought on board just earlier today: as first reported by Justin Rogers of the Detroit News, the Patriots have acquired Detroit Lions tight end Michael Roberts via trade.
New England is reportedly sending a conditional seventh-round draft selection in 2020 to Detroit in order to bring the 25-year-old on board. The relatively modest compensation already shows that Roberts is not a lock to make the Patriots’ new-look tight end group: Roberts will have to earn his spot on the team over the course of training camp and the preseason, or else New England will not be afraid of moving on again.
Roberts, who appeared in 23 games for Detroit since the team drafted him in the fourth round in 2017, will now compete against the likes of fellow offseason signings Matt LaCosse, Benjamin Watson and Andrew Beck as well as returning tight ends Ryan Izzo and Stephen Anderson. And like all the other members of the position depth chart except Watson, his statistical career output so far has been comparatively modest.
Mostly a rotational player in Detroit, Roberts caught just 13 passes for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns so far in his career. Described as a marginally athletic prospect that “had proven to be a decent blocker and great red-zone threat” in college, according to Pride of Detroit’s Mansur Shaheen, he was mostly a disappointing investment for the Lions. Now, he and the Patriots will have to hope that a new environment changes the course of his career.