The New England Patriots bolstered their tight end depth chart Wednesday by signing free agent Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
The Patriots signed Seferian-Jenkins to a one-year minimum contract, a source told NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. That means the deal comes with very little risk for the Patriots. Seferian-Jenkins was considered the best tight end available on the open market.
Seferian-Jenkins, who’s 6-foot-6, 262 pounds, was a second-round pick out of the University of Washington in 2014. He has spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars.
The big tight end caught 11 passes for 90 yards in just five games in an injury-shortened 2018 season with the Jaguars. His most productive season came in 2017, when he caught 50 passes for 357 yards with three touchdowns as a member of the Jets.
Seferian-Jenkins has 116 career receptions for 1,160 yards with 11 touchdowns in five NFL seasons.
The 26-year-old has missed considerable time during his career with injuries. He also served a two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy in 2017.
The Patriots now have Seferian-Jenkins, Matt LaCosse, Stephen Anderson, Jacob Hollister, Ryan Izzo and Jakob Johnson on their tight end depth chart. Even after signing Seferian-Jenkins, tight end still is one of the Patriots’ biggest needs in the 2019 NFL Draft.
There’s no guarantee Seferian-Jenkins will contribute for the Patriots in 2019, but he is physically gifted enough to have once been a second-round pick. He also has been productive while on the field throughout his career.
The Patriots desperately needed pass-catching bodies, and the Seferian-Jenkins deal comes with some upside based on his traits. Getting any production out of a veteran player on a minimum deal would be considered a win for the Patriots.