The New England Patriots have moved on from Benjamin Watson.
Although they’re struggling for pass catchers — especially at the tight end position — since the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots have decided the move on from the veteran tight end.
New England decided not to activate the 38-year-old tight end before Monday’s 4 pm deadline, meaning the Patriots had decided to release the veteran.
The move was shocking considering Watson had entered the preseason as the starting tight end. Despite New England’s current tight ends, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo, delivering less than desirable statistics as the top tight ends, Bill Belichick decided not to release any players for a veteran that he had selected with a first-round draft selection 15 years prior.
Belichick was asked why he decided not to give Watson a roster spot on the 53-man active roster and the head coach gave a cold reasoning for why he decided to move on from the veteran — he just doesn’t have a roster spot.
Via Devon Clements of Patriot Maven:
“Just don’t have a roster spot,” Belichick said. “We only have so many roster spots. If we put somebody on, we have to take somebody off. Right now, there wasn’t a roster spot. We didn’t feel like there was somebody we could create a roster spot with. Everybody came out of the game healthy. We have a decent team. So I think that’s where we’re at.”
Patriots Don’t Have Any Receiving Options at Tight End
Keep in mind that the only reason why LaCosse and Izzo had even received first-team snaps on offense was because of Watson’s four-game suspension by the NFL for failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs due to a testosterone supplement. In five games without Watson, LaCosse and Izzo had combined for seven receptions, 138 yards and a touchdown. Not exactly startling numbers.
With Watson out of the picture, Tom Brady doesn’t exactly have many security blankets left. While the wide receiving core of Josh Gordon, Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett is a solid one, one has to factor in that Gordon hasn’t played a full season since 2013, Edelman has been dealing with nagging injuries and Dorsett has been a role-playing receiving his entire career.
With no reliable receiving tight ends in the picture, Brady will have to overcome another hurdle as New England looks to repeat as Super Bowl champions with LaCosse and Izzo as their top tight ends.
Good luck, New England.
Ben Watson is ‘Disappointed’ Over His Release
Needless to say, Watson quickly took to Twitter to express his disappointment over his surprising release.
Despite his release and his advanced age, Watson intends to try to latch onto another NFL team this season. He had planned to retire following the conclusion of the 2018 season, but was coaxed out of retirement when he signed a deal with New England back in May.
If the Patriots aren’t happy with their tight end situation later on in the season, they could always re-sign their former tight end.
Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!