Ever since offensive tackle Jared Veldheer decided to retire in mid-May — after spending just eight days with the team — the New England Patriots have had an open spot on their 90-man offseason roster. Today, on the eve of their first training camp practice, they have finally filled it: as first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the reigning world champions have signed free agent tight end Lance Kendricks to a one-year deal.
Kendricks brings plenty of experience to the table. The 31-year-old, who originally entered the NFL as a second-round draft pick by the then-St. Louis Rams in 2011, is entering his ninth season in the league and has 125 games on his résumé (none of which in the playoffs, though). The 6-foot-3, 250-pound tight end, spent his last two years with the Green Bay Packers and in 2018 served as their number two at the position behind Jimmy Graham.
As such, he appeared in all sixteen of his team’s games and was on the field for 314 of 1,074 offensive snaps (29.7%). Despite being primarily a receiving tight end for the Packers, Kendricks caught only 19 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown — which speaks more about his role and general involvement in Green Bay’s passing offense, however, than what he could potentially bring to the Patriots’ new-look tight end group.
After all, Kendricks is capable of serving both as a rotational pass catcher and in-line blocker. That being said, he will need to get up to speed quickly in order to put himself into the position to earn a spot on the team.