The New England Patriots gave up on 2020 third-round pick Devin Asiasi, but the Cincinnati Bengals are ready to give him a second chance. The Bengals claimed Asiasi on waivers, per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, after the Patriots made him one of their final trim downs to get to the 53-man limit on Tuesday.
Why Did the Cincinnati Bengals Claim Devin Asiasi?
Asiasi will have an opportunity to revive his career with an offense in Cincinnati that has a more established quarterback in Joe Burrow and some serious weapons on offense in Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Mixon. The Bengals are fresh off their trip to the Super Bowl last season, and perhaps Asiasi can help them bolster one of the few weak areas on their offense.
The Bengals are thin after Hayden Hurst at tight end, and with injury concerns to backup Drew Sample, there was an obvious need for added depth. TWSN’s Kyle Smith mentioned Asiasi as a potential fit once the Patriots released him.
The Bengals also saw the connection and made the move to claim Asiasi off waivers.
Why Did the Patriots Cut Asiasi?
Durability was the biggest issue with Asiasi. He and Dalton Keene (whom the Patriots also released) were taken in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. New England had Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez working in tandem during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The dual-TE approach was effective, and it seemed the Patriots had designs on Asiasi and Keene becoming a similarly effective tandem.
Unfortunately, Keene played in a total of six games for the Pats, and Asiasi played in 10 over that same period. Asiasi, the more athletic of the two failed picks, had just 2 receptions in a Patriots uniform. After a standout career in college with the UCLA Bruins, it is safe to say, more was expected of him.
The Patriots seemed to simply run out of patience with him.
What Do the Patriots Have Left at Tight End?
This is the tough part for some fans. While almost no one can sing the praises of a player who was inactive as often as Asiasi, there should be at least some concern for the lack of depth the Patriots have at tight end.
Because New England cut Keene, Asiasi, and Matt Sokol, it has just two tight ends on the roster: Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Minutes after Asiasi was claimed, the Patriots signed Jalen Wydermyer (whom they’d just cut) to the practice squad.
There was talk that wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey could potentially see some work at tight end because of his size and physicality. We saw glimpses of that concept with N’Keal Harry (another failed Patriots draft pick), but New England also cut Humphrey.
According to Breer’s tweet, the Patriots did not claim any players off waivers. So there is no immediate help on the way at tight end or any other position.
There is a chance Sokol or Humphrey could come back to New England as a practice squad member, and there is still a chance the Patriots could swing a trade, or simply sign a free-agent tight end, but aside from that, the cabinet is bare beyond Henry, Smith and Wydermyer.