New England Patriots

Benjamin Watson of the New England Patriots looks for yards after a second quarter catch while playing the Detroit Lions during a preseason game at Ford Field on August 08, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

Ben Watson did not spend much time as a free agent. As first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates, the Patriots are expected to re-sign the veteran tight end amid injury and depth concerns at the position.

A roster spot opened up for Watson after the Patriots placed fullback Jakob Johnson on injured reserve. Head coach Bill Belichick said last week, between the Pats releasing Watson and playing Thursday’s game against the Giants, that the team could not find an opening – but left the door open for him to return.

“[We] like Ben, just, we don’t have a roster spot for him right now. So, maybe that’ll change, but for the moment, that’s where it is,” Belichick said.”

Watson could be with the Patriots during the first four games of the 2019 season, when he served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. He also suffered a concussion during the preseason.

The 38-year-old tight end returns amid possible injury and depth concerns at the position. Matt LaCosse missed most of the Patriots’ 35-14 win over the Giants on Thursday Night Football due to a knee injury. Watson’s return is ostensibly not great news for LaCosse.

At the same time, second-year pro Ryan Izzo hasn’t gotten the job done as a blocker up front. Watson doesn’t necessarily represent a huge upgrade in that department, but it may be worth at least giving him a try. The last two Package Reports have also made note of the fact that the Pats have started to incorporate a lot more two-tight end looks in the offense.

Regardless, losing Johnson (likely for the rest of the season) means the Patriots are out of fullbacks and could at least use more size up front on offense. Watson should also get an opportunity as a pass-catcher and his return will certainly make Tom Brady happy. The quarterback sounded severely disappointed about Watson’s release.

“You know, pretty tough. Pretty tough,” Brady said last week. “I mean, it’s tough for a lot of guys. I’ve played with a lot of guys over the years. You know, Ben’s a great player. He’s been a great player for this team, for other teams, he’s had an incredible career and hopefully he can keep playing. I know he was looking forward to playing. I miss him.”

Well, Brady won’t have to miss Watson anymore. We’ll see what kind of impact he makes, but his presence couldn’t possibly hurt.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at

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