Pats Sign Tight End Seferian-Jenkins to One-year Deal
A month into free agency, the Patriots made one of their most significant signings yet.
The Pats inked veteran tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins to a one-year deal, a source confirmed.
Seferian-Jenkins, 26, should step into the starting tight end role for the Pats. Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement in March, and the team released backup Dwayne Allen prior to free agency. Seferian-Jenkins joins a group that includes Stephen Anderson, Jacob Hollister, Matt LaCosse, and Ryan Izzo.
At 6-foot-5, 262 pounds, Seferian-Jenkins possesses the size and athleticism to play an in-line role, contributing as a receiver and blocker. Injuries have limited Seferian-Jenkins to 43 regular season games in five NFL seasons. He’s flashed upside as a receiver, though, and has played well against the Patriots. As a member of the Jets, Seferian-Jenkins caught a career-high eight passes for 46 yards and a touchdown in a close loss to the Patriots two seasons ago.
Seferian-Jenkins signed with the Jaguars in the 2018 offseason. He landed on injured reserve due to a core muscle injury after five games. Jacksonville declined the option on his contract, sending him to unrestricted free agency in March.
A second-round pick out of Washington in 2014, Seferian-Jenkins exhibited big-play ability early in his career. He’s been held in check over the past two seasons, averaging just 7.3 yards on 61 receptions.
The Patriots could still target a tight end in the NFL Draft later this month. They hold six picks in the top three rounds.
For now, the Seferian-Jenkins signing stabilizes the position following Gronkowski’s retirement.
He was widely considered the most talented tight end remaining in free agency.
The Patriots reportedly pursued Jared Cook in March. Cook ultimately chose the Saints.
BUSY DAY IN FOXBORO
In addition to the Austin Seferian-Jenkins signing, the Patriots hosted two other prominent free agents on visits.
Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas and running back T.J. Yeldon met with the Pats, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
Thomas is an accomplished receiver who blossomed into a star with the Broncos while catching passes from Peyton Manning. He’s coming off a torn Achilles, though, and at age 31 lacks the explosiveness he once had. He was traded to Houston at the deadline this past season.
Yeldon, 25, spent the past few seasons as the backup to Leonard Fournette in Jacksonville. He possesses ideal size at 6-foot-1, 223 pounds and performs well as a pass-catcher out of the backfield.
The Patriots like to stockpile depth at running back, one of the most injury-prone positions in the game.
Last year, they kept four capable runners on the initial 53-man roster. Jeremy Hill suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Week 1 and Rex Burkhead landed on injured reserve in Week 4, depleting the backfield depth.
Burkhead returned in December and served as the complement to Sony Michel and James White down the stretch.
NO SCHIANO TALK
At his annual pre-draft press conference, Bill Belichick wanted to keep the focus on the 2019 draft.
Several questions regarding the departure of Greg Schiano were met with short answers.
“We’re not talking about an unprecedented event here,” Belichick said. “Yeah, we’ve dealt with changes before (on the coaching staff). We’ll continue to deal with them.”
Asked how the Patriots will fill the void at defensive coordinator, Belichick said, “We’ll just kind of stick to the draft for right now. But I appreciate the question.”
The Pats have not announced any additions to the coaching staff. Currently, safeties coach Steve Belichick is the only defensive position coach listed on the team’s website.
Former Pats linebacker Jerod Mayo announced in March that he’d be joining the staff for the 2019 season.