The Patriots haven’t exactly done themselves any favors regarding the tight end position, have they?

New England made an accounting error (???) by allowing the contracts of its three veteran tight ends to expire at the same time. Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki and Pharaoh Brown are all headed for free agency, leaving the Patriots without a single option on the roster heading into the offseason.

It’s actually worse than that because even if they had one of those guys under contract, the Patriots would be looking for an upgrade anyway. Henry is about to be 30, Gesicki’s production nosedived each of the last two seasons and Brown has never caught more than 23 balls in a season. There’s a way to fill the room while also upgrading the position, however.

His name is Dalton Schultz.

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Schultz isn’t going to knock anyone’s socks off, but he’s proven to be valuable throughout his career. The 27-year-old eclipsed 600 yards and scored five touchdowns last season, serving as a reliable target for Texans rookie C.J. Stroud.

He could fill the same role for New England.

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Schultz made just over $6 million last season, and though he should see that number jump slightly, Henry won’t be making nearly $12 million anymore. There’s a world in which the Patriots lock both into deals that carry the same total cap hit as Henry and Gesicki last season. That would offer them an opportunity to improve, without wasting resources.

They just need to draft someone this season, so they can develop talent at the position and avoid running into this same problem down the line. We’d suggest someone like Ben Sinnott, who can provide an impact as a rookie by filling a role Henry and Schultz might not be suited to at this stage of their careers.

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Featured image via Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean/USA TODAY Sports Images