Patriots Sign Ex-Bengals Tight End

Mitchell Wilcox

Getty Mitchell Wilcox signed with the Patriots on Monday.

The New England Patriots once lost a tight end to the Cincinnati Bengals this offseason, but the Patriots recently found an ex-Bengals tight end in the process.

New England signed tight end Mitchell Wilcox on Monday, which will help with depth but not alleviate the loss of Mike Geisicki to the Bengals. An undrafted free agent from South Florida in 2020, Wilcox played four seasons with the Bengals. He tallied 29 catches for 211 yards and a touchdown in nine games with Cincinnati.

New England could use more tight end depth ahead of the draft on Thursday. The Patriots currently have Austin Hooper, Hunter Henry, and La’Michael Pettway already on the roster.

Wilcox had a one-year, $1.04 million contract with the Bengals in 2023 and only played in four games. However, the Bengals used him frequently on special teams amid 56% or more of the snaps in each of the past three seasons.

In addition to Wilcox, two other tight ends worked out with the Patriots on April 19. Former Los Angeles Rams tight end Brycen Hopkins and former Dallas Cowboys tight end Sean McKeon also worked out with the Patriots according to SiriusXM NFL Radio’s Howard Balzer.

It doesn’t negate the Patriots picking a tight end at some point in the draft, however. The Patriots have eight picks overall amid a plethora of roster needs after a 4-13 season.

Mike Geisicki Didn’t Reach Expectations With Patriots

Last year, the Patriots fielded a weak offense that posted 13.9 points per game and 295.2 yards per game. Tight ends allotted for a significant amount of the passing attack amid 84 catches for 871 yards and nine touchdowns overall.

Most of that came from Henry, who had 42 receptions for 419 yards and six touchdowns. Geisicki didn’t live up to expectations amid 29 catches for 244 yards and two touchdowns, and Pharaoh Brown had 13 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown.

Despite Geisicki’s dropoff from his Miami Dolphins tenure, the Bengals signed him to a one-year, $2.5 million deal. Geisicki had 231 catches for 2,617 yards and 18 touchdowns in five seasons with the Dolphins.

Patriots Could Also Turn to Bengals in WR Search

Mitchell may not be the last Bengals player to join the Patriots as wide receiver Tee Higgins has been linked to New England in trade rumors. Higgins asked for a trade this offseason amid a contract dispute and receiving the franchise tag.

The Bengals will pay Higgins $21.81 million this year on the tag. He could command up to $18.6 million annually or a four-year, $74.4 million deal per Spotrac.

Though the Higgins trade rumors have persisted, he recently said he foresees a return to the Bengals this year. He talked about it at his football camp on April 14.

“I do anticipate it,” Higgins told WXIX-TV. “I’ve grown a love for Cincinnati that I didn’t think I would. [I’m] looking forward to it.”

New England has been in search of improvements to wide receiver, too, after the team’s meager passing game only produced 16 touchdowns overall and only five from receivers. Demario Douglas, the Patriots’ leading receiver in 2023, didn’t have any touchdowns amid his 49 catches for 561 yards.

Read More