FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots announced today that they have signed TE Ben Watson. Terms of the contract were not announced.
In addition, the Patriots signed seven of their 10 2019 NFL draft selections. The Patriots signed second-round draft pick DB JoeJuan Williams, third-round draft pick OL Yodny Cajuste, fourth-round draft pick OL Hjalte Froholdt, fourth-round draft pick QB Jarrett Stidham, fifth-round draft pick DL Byron Cowart, fifth-round draft pick P Jake Bailey and seventh-round draft pick DB Ken Webster.
Watson, 38, is a veteran of 15 NFL seasons with the New England Patriots (2004-2009), Cleveland Browns (2010-12), New Orleans Saints (2013-15, 2018) and the Baltimore Ravens (2016-17). The 6-foot-3, 251-pounder, originally entered the NFL as a first-round draft pick (32nd overall) of the Patriots out of Georgia in 2004 and spent his first six seasons with the team.
During his NFL career, Watson has played in 195 regular-season games with 135 starts and has 530 receptions for 5,885 yards with 44 touchdowns. He has played in 12 postseason games with nine starts and totaled 22 receptions for 234 yards and three touchdowns.
After six seasons in New England, Watson signed with Cleveland as an unrestricted free agent on March 12, 2010. He joined New Orleans as an unrestricted free agent on March 13, 2013, and signed with Baltimore as an unrestricted free agent on March 10, 2016. After two seasons with Baltimore, Watson re-joined New Orleans as an unrestricted free agent on March 29, 2018.
Last season in New Orleans, Watson played in 16 games with four starts and finished with 35 receptions for 400 yards with two touchdowns. He played in one game in the postseason and caught one pass for 12 yards.
2019 DRAFT PICKS
Williams, 21, was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft with the 45th overall selection out of Vanderbilt. The 6-foot-3, 208-pounder played in 36 games over his three seasons and posted 119 tackles, four interceptions, 30 passes defensed and one forced fumble.
Cajuste, 23, was selected by the Patriots in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft with the 101st overall selection out of West Virginia. The 6-foot-5, 321-pounder was a three-year starter at tackle, having played in 31 career games with 30 starts.
Froholdt, 22, was selected by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft with the 118th overall selection out of Arkansas. The 6-foot-5, 306-pounder appeared in 47 games with 37 starts over is four seasons at Arkansas.
Stidham, 22, was selected by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft with the 133rd overall selection out of Auburn. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder began his college career at Baylor before transferring to Auburn. He finished his career at Auburn with 5,952 yards and 36 touchdowns and holds the Auburn record 162 consecutive pass attempts without an interception.
Cowart, 22, was selected by the Patriots in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft with the 159th overall selection out of Maryland. The 6-foot-3, 293-pounder began his college career at Auburn before transferring to Maryland for his senior year. He started all 12 games on the defensive line as a senior and totaled 38 tackles and two interceptions.
Bailey, 21, was selected by the Patriots in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft with the 163rd overall selection out of Stanford. The 6-foot-2, 202-pounder was a three-time All-Pac 12 honoree – second team (2017 and 2018) and honorable mention (2016). He finished his Stanford career as Stanford's all-time career leader in punting average with a 43.4 average.
Webster, 22, was drafted by the Patriots in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft with the 252nd overall selection out of Mississippi. The 5-foot-11, 201-pounder appeared in 47 games in the secondary for Mississippi and totaled 125 tackles, three interceptions and 22 passes defensed.