New England Patriots sign Benjamin Watson: Grade, reaction and more

New England Patriots, NFL, NFL Free Agency


The defending Super Bowl champions are signing a player who began his career in Foxborough, as the New England Patriots are adding tight end Benjamin Watson.

Earlier this week, the New England Patriots added veteran tackle Jared Veldheer to their team. Now the franchise is bringing back a player that the club made their final pick in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft.

Tight end Benjamin Watson spent the first six seasons of his NFL career with the Patriots. He would also suit up for the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and have two separate stints with the New Orleans Saints. In 2015, he racked up career numbers with Sean Payton’s team, catching 74 passes for 825 yards and six scores — the latter tying his personal best. After signing with the Ravens in 2016, he would miss the entire season due to injury. He rebounded to catch a team-best 61 passes for Baltimore one year later (four touchdowns).

Watson rejoined the Saints and this past season and despite playing in all 16 contests, he totaled just 35 grabs for 400 yards and a pair of TDs. Now the 38-year-old pro is back with a team that was coming off its second Super Bowl title during his rookie season in ’04.

Contract Details

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the longtime performer will ink a one-year, $3 million contract with the Patriots.

National Reaction

Grade

It was though that Watson was done with football. But apparently, the veteran performer was not quite ready to end his NFL career. He’s one of the more complete players at his position in the league and his arrival does take a little sting out of the offseason retirement of Rob Gronkowski. While Watson isn’t the downfield threat that Gronkowski had been at times, he brings a pair of sure hands and savvy to the Patriots.

Grade: B+

It’s been another offseason of subtle but significant changes for the club. Watson returns to the Patriots organization and brings a lot to the team, both on the field and as a leader. He and the talented Austin Seferian-Jenkins could make for a very interesting one-two punch at the position.





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