When tight end Benjamin Watson unretired earlier this month and joined the Patriots, his return to the place where his NFL career began in 2004 made plenty of sense, given the team’s needs at the position in the aftermath of the retirement of tight end Rob Gronkowski. The news of Watson’s PED suspension brings those needs back into focus, at least for the month of September.
Watson will be gone for the first four weeks of the regular season, which necessarily will leave the Patriots thin at the tight end position for the initial 25 percent of the campaign.
Barring a trade or a free-agent acquisition, Austin Seferian-Jenkins will presumably be the top tight end when Week One rolls around. The other tight ends currently on the roster include Ryan Izzo, Matt LaCosse, Stephen Anderson, and Andrew Beck.
Rumors had been circulating of a possible trade for Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph. Watson’s suspension could dust off the chatter of a deal being made with Minnesota. A deal with another team for a tight end also could be possible, given that the Patriots will have to embark on a one-month stretch that features the Steelers, at the Dolphins, Jets, and at the Bills, without a guy who signed with the team less than a month ago.
What they’ll do remains to be seen. Because it’s the Patriots, most will assume that they have a plan and that the plan will work. Because they usually do, and it usually does.