The Patriots are using an incredibly small portion of their monster cap space on tight ends.
Once the Patriots opened up a little breathing room in their finances this offseason by virtue of the Aaron Hernandez and Antonio Brown grievances, most fans hoped they’d find a way to import a veteran safety blanket tight end for Cam Newton to work with.
This hope doubled or tripled in likelihood when a rash of opt outs further bumped the team’s available payroll — those departures included Matt LaCosse, thinning out the tight end room to Ryan Izzo and two rookies, Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene.
But then the Delanie Walker rumors (likely cooked up by Pats Nation) became a whimper. If you weren’t already resigned to the idea that we weren’t about to get some massive infusion of talent, or a Greg Olsen defection from Seattle, Monday morning’s TE news was another bitter pill.
Yes, the Pats brought in two tight ends. No, you’ve never heard of them before.
The Patriots using a pair of Day 2 picks on some tight ends with serious flaws and limitations didn’t comfort us, and neither has any maneuver made prior to the start of the regular season.
The TE is a safety valve that can make sure an entire offense is functioning. Sure, Newton will likely look to the backfield and target James White when things get dicey, but we’re now asking him (in an abbreviated training camp) to put his faith in a blocker from Virginia Tech (Keene) and an underperforming UCLA weapon (Asiasi).
The 27-year-old Butler has mainly been a special teamer since arriving with the Raiders in 2018, and Ellis has been a Titan, Jaguar, Saint, Chief, and Eagle.
Ellis and Butler are merely bodies for training camp depth purposes, and they won’t ease a first-year QB’s transition to the Patriot Way whatsoever.
Instead of using their copious financial advantages to make an upgrade, the Pats are hoping you just won’t notice.