It wasn't long ago that the Patriots created the mold for the new age offense with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. But after Gronkowski's repeated surgeries, the latest involving his torn ACL, and Hernandez' well-documented legal situation things look a lot different at the position.
Regardless, the Patriots will need some new blood at the position because beyond Gronkowski there just aren’t any bodies to rely on. Michael Hoomanawanui and Matthew Mulligan are both free agents and neither is capable of providing much production even if they re-sign.
The only other tight end currently on the roster is D.J. Williams. The 6-2, 245-pound Williams signed with the Patriots late last season and appeared in four games including two in the postseason. He failed to make a catch and hasn’t made much of a mark as a pro in his three seasons following a solid career at Arkansas.