Sport Why Patriots are reportedly re-signing Benjamin Watson
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The New England Patriots. And yet he's returning to the team this week, according to ESPN's Field Yates. He served a four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, but the Patriots didn't activate him when he was eligible and eventually let him hit free agency.
What changed? The Patriots lost fullback Jakob Johnson, who was serving as the replacement for starter James Develin. They are both on injured reserve. Likely because there is some overlap between the roles of fullback and tight end, the Patriots have added Watson, a notoriously impressive blocking tight end.
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Watson isn't a one-for-one swap with Johnson or Develin, but perhaps he will provide the Patriots some relief as they figure out what to do without a fullback in 2019 - if that's the route they stick with.
The Patriots are expected to re-sign veteran TE Benjamin Watson, per source. He was released last week, but should be back in the fold to help a position that could use the depth.
- Field Yates (@FieldYates)
Quarterback Tom Brady is probably pleased with the transaction. He was outspoken in his disappointment in seeing Watson go last week.
"Pretty tough, you know? Pretty tough,". "It's tough for a lot of guys, I've played with a lot of guys over the years. Ben's a great player. He's been a great player for this team, for other teams. He's had an incredible career. Hopefully he can keep playing. I know he was looking forward to playing."
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While the Patriots signed him for his capabilities as a blocker, Watson could also contribute in a big way as a pass-catcher. Obviously, the Patriots cut him for a reason - so that reality should strip some of the optimism about how much he can contribute. If they thought he'd be a major force, they would have kept him, particularly because New England's tight end group features mostly unproven players in Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo. LaCosse also left Week 6 action with a knee injury.
But it's easy to imagine this marriage working well. Brady likes working with Watson, who knows the system in his second stint with the team. This move seemed like a no-brainer - right before the Patriots elected not to sign him last week. Watson will get a chance to prove his worth.
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