In the last couple of weeks the Patriots learned that they'd be without Benjamin Watson for the first four games of the season and then decided to release Austin Seferian-Jenkins as he deals with a personal issue. That left an already thin tight end position searching for replacements.
According to the Detroit News, Bill Belichick took a step toward at least some depth at the spot by trading a conditional seventh-round pick in 2020 to Detroit for Michael Roberts.
Roberts is entering his third season after the Lions drafted him in the fourth round out of Toledo in 2017. The 6-5, 265-pound Roberts has played in 23 regular-season games totaling 13 catches for 146 yards and three touchdowns.
Injuries have plagued Roberts during his two seasons and the Lions drafted Iowa's T.J. Hockenson in the first round in April while adding veteran tight end Jesse James earlier in the offseason. That left Roberts scrambling to compete for a backup role and ultimately made him expendable.
Roberts will join Matt LaCosse, who spent the bulk of minicamp taking reps with the first group on offense, as well as Stephen Anderson, Ryan Izzo and undrafted rookie Andrew Beck. Watson will return to action in October while Seferian-Jenkins' future remains unclear.