FOXBORO, Mass. — With Rob Gronkowski officially suspended for Week 14, now is as good a time as ever to take a deeper dive into the New England Patriots’ tight end depth chart.
The Patriots have a pretty impressive player on their practice squad in tight end Will Tye. Tye caught 90 passes for 859 yards with four touchdowns in 29 games and 17 starts with the New York Giants in 2015 and 2016. He caught four passes for 38 yards earlier this season with the New York Jets.
If the Patriots want to activate three tight ends in Week 14 against the Miami Dolphins, then they could sign Tye off their practice squad. The Patriots will need to sign a player prior to Monday night’s matchup with the Dolphins, since Gronkowski’s suspension will open up a spot on the 53-man roster. The Patriots will have to waive a player Tuesday when Gronkowski returns, however.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked about Tye on Wednesday, and he was complimentary of the 6-foot-2, 262-pound player.
“Athletic, improved a lot,” Belichick said. “We’ve asked him to do some things that he’s worked on, and he’s shown good improvement in. He’s a big guy who can run, catch. He has presence on the line of scrimmage to block. He’s done a good job.”
Patriots backup tight ends Dwayne Allen and Jacob Hollister haven’t been fixtures in the passing attack through 12 games this season. Allen has five catches for 40 yards while Hollister has three receptions for 37 yards this season.
Tye and Hollister have similar athleticism, but Tye is a significantly bigger player with more experience who likely could contribute more as a blocker.
The Patriots could elect to roll with just two tight ends Monday night, but they have an intriguing option in Tye should they decide they need an extra big-bodied receiver.