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Reports: Patriots sign TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (88) celebrates his 4 yard touchdown catch with 14 seconds to play in the second quarter against the New England Patriots in an NFL game Sunday, September 16, 2018 in Jacksonville, Fl. (Rick Wilson via AP)
Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (88) celebrates his 4 yard touchdown catch with 14 seconds to play in the second quarter against the New England Patriots in an NFL game Sunday, September 16, 2018 in Jacksonville, Fl. (Rick Wilson via AP)

The Patriots have a huge hole at the tight end position after the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, but according to reports they took a step toward filling it on Wednesday.

ESPN and NFL Network reported the Patriots signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins to a one-year deal, immediately putting the veteran at the top of the team’s depth chart at the position.

The 6-6, 262-pound Seferian-Jenkins has been productive during his five-year NFL career, but he’s also battled some injuries and off-field issues. He entered the league with Tampa Bay as a second-round pick in 2014 but played in just 18 games in two-plus seasons with the Bucs. He served a two-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy in 2017 while with the Jets, but that also was his best season as a pro.

He caught 50 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games with New York that year but left as a free agent and signed with Jacksonville last season. He had just 11 catches for 90 yards after being limited to five games with the Jags due to a core muscle injury. Three of those catches and his only touchdown did come in a win over the Patriots in Week 2, however. He’s also dealt with back and foot injuries during his career.

Seferian-Jenkins joins a barren list of tight ends in New England that includes free agent newcomer Matt LaCosse, Stephen Anderson, Jacob Hollister and Ryan Izzo. Given the uncertainty of that group, expect tight end to remain a priority for the Patriots in the upcoming draft.

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