The New England Patriots have locked up their free-agent tight end for the 2017 season.
No, not that one.
While Martellus Bennett’s future remains unclear, the Patriots on Tuesday tendered exclusive-rights free agent Matt Lengel, a source told MassLive.com’s Kevin Duffy.
WEEI.com’s Ryan Hannable and Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal confirmed the report, citing sources.
Lengel, who began the 2016 season on the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad, played a minor role in the Patriots’ offense, appearing in nine games (including playoffs) and catching two passes for 22 yards and one touchdown.
The 26-year-old provided depth at the tight end position after Rob Gronkowski landed on injured reserve in early December. Lengel finished the season as Bennett’s understudy and played 24 offensive snaps in the postseason, including 10 in Super Bowl LI.
The Patriots also tendered cornerback Justin Coleman, according to multiple reports.
Coleman, another exclusive-rights free agent, played in 10 games this season, recording eight tackles. The second-year pro logged just four defensive snaps over the final seven weeks of the regular season and was inactive for the postseason.
If a team tenders a qualifying offer to one of its exclusive-rights free agents, the player must accept or choose to sit out the season.
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