The New England Patriots’ courtship of veteran free-agent tight end Jordan Leggett went public last week. On Monday, things went to the next step when the 25-year-old was in Foxborough to take a team physical ahead of signing with the Patriots on an as-yet-revealed deal, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.
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According to Rapoport, if all goes well with the physical, the Patriots will sign Leggett.
Who is Jordan Leggett?
Leggett is a 6-foot-5, 268-pound pass-catching tight end out of Clemson. He helped the Tigers, along with Houston Texans’ quarterback (and 2021 free-agent-to-be) Deshaun Watson, win the National Championship. Leggett was a fifth-round pick to the New York Jets in 2017. A knee injury ahead of his rookie season set him back.
He was expected to be the team’s starter in place of Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Eric Tomlinson, but Leggett’s injury kept him sidelined most of the regular season. Despite showing some flashes in practice and in brief action during the regular season, the Jets waived Leggett in May 2019.
He was claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he never saw regular-season action with the team. He was waived by the Bucs in late July, and the Patriots wasted little time moving toward signing him.
What Does the Signing Mean for Patriots?
The Patriots don’t have a ton of experience at tight end. Last year’s starter Matt LaCosse opted out of the season, and quite frankly, he wasn’t a standout performer in 2019. The same can be said for LaCosse’s backup Ryan Izzo, who is returning. This poor play at TE is what motivated the Patriots to draft Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Preferably, the Patriots could have brought Asiasi and Keene along slowly while playing behind a more established veteran. However, with LaCosse opting out, it put New England in a position to start rookies at tight end, and that seems like something the team might not want to do.
How Does the Signing Impact Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene?
If Leggett is healthy and shines in training camp, he is perhaps in a position to swoop in and to claim some serious playing time. Getting on the same page with whoever will be the team’s starting quarterback–Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham, or Brian Hoyer–will be essential.
The sooner Leggett can do that, the sooner he can try to make an impact as a pass-catcher. Leggett is also going to want to show himself to be a capable blocker for the run game, and on quarterback rushes. The Patriots are likely to have a mobile quarterback for the first time since Steve Grogan was under center, and the tight end could play a major role in that aspect of the offense.
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