The top of the New England Patriots’ tight end group is set in stone, with Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith the undisputed top options at the position. The depth behind them, however, remains a work in progress which might have contributed to the team adding another player to the equation.
As first reported by Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson, the Patriots are signing rookie Jalen Wydermyer.
Wydermyer, 21, originally joined the NFL out of Texas A&M earlier this year. During his three seasons with the Aggies, he caught 118 passes for 1,468 yards and 16 touchdowns in 35 games.
After going undrafted, he was signed by the Buffalo Bills in mid-May and spent three months with the organization before his recent release. Along the way, he appeared in several practices as well as the team’s preseason opener last week. Wydermyer played six snaps on offense and nine on special teams versus the Indianapolis Colts but did not register any statistics.
Now in New England, he is adding another layer of depth behind Smith and Henry. With the latter having missed Wednesday’s joint practice with the Carolina Panthers due to an apparent injury, the move makes sense to strengthen the position heading into the second preseason game of the summer.
Besides Smith, Henry and Wydermyer, the Patriots also have Devin Asiasi, Dalton Keene and Matt Sokol under contract. The three are all competing for a spot on the roster, but neither has truly stood out just yet this summer.
Wydermyer will be a long-shot to make the club due to his late arrival and status as a relatively inexperienced rookie. At the very least, however, he improves the depth at the position as long as Henry is recovering from what is believed to be a minor ailment.
With the youngster now under contract, the Patriots have no open spots on their 85-man roster.