Despite their strong need for tight end help this offseason, the New England Patriots evidently did not show significant interest in veteran free agent Greg Olsen.
Olsen, who mutually parted ways with the Carolina Panthers last month, plans to sign with the Washington Redskins, Buffalo Bills or Seattle Seahawks, according to a report Friday morning from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
All three teams hosted Olsen for a workout after his departure from Carolina. The Patriots, who boasted the NFL’s least productive tight end group in 2019, did not.
Patriots tight ends Ben Watson, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo combined to catch just 36 passes for 418 yards and two touchdowns this season. Olsen turns 35 next month and has dealt with myriad injuries in recent years, but he played in all but one game this season, tallying 52 receptions for 597 yards with two scores while catching most of his passes from backup quarterback Kyle Allen.
Olsen joked during FOX’s Super Bowl LIV pregame show that he’d be New England’s backup plan for 2020.
“They’re trying to get (Rob Gronkowski) back,” the three-time Pro Bowler said. “If they don’t get him, I’m, like, third in line.”
Failing to adequately replace the retired Gronkowski was the 2019 Patriots’ greatest roster-building error. Expect them to add multiple tight ends in the coming months, through free agency and/or the 2020 NFL Draft.
Hunter Henry, Austin Hooper, Eric Ebron and Tyler Eifert headline this year’s crop of free agent tight ends. Highly regarded draft prospects who could pique the Patriots’ interest include Notre Dame’s Cole Kmet, Vanderbilt’s Jared Pinkney, LSU’s Thaddeus Moss and Dayton’s Adam Trautman.
LaCosse and Izzo remain under contract through the upcoming season but will need to fight for roster spots this summer.