It's been no secret that the Patriots have targeted tight end so far this offseason, bringing in three free agents for workouts since March 1. While there are still some matters to be worked out, a fourth could soon draw the attention of Head Coach Bill Belichick.
Buffalo veteran Jay Riemersma could soon find himself out of a job after the Bills signed former Tampa Bay tight end Dave Moore on Monday. Moore, an unrestricted free agent, signed a three-year deal worth a reported $3.8 million to likely become the Bills starter.
Riemersma spent the last five years as Buffalo's starter and ranks among the league's top five statistically at the position. But the Bills, facing salary cap problems, recently asked the former Michigan standout to take a pay cut and Riemersma refused.
Riemersma is slated to earn roughly $2.5 million in 2002 and the Bills wanted to shave about $1.25 million from that and offered the tight end a chance to make $500,000 of it back in incentives. Riemersma declined and that will likely spell the end of his days in Buffalo.
With Moore on board, Buffalo will likely let Riemersma go, making him available to the Patriots and the other 30 NFL clubs. If in fact the Patriots have an interest, and Belichick has spoken glowingly about Riemersma in the past, he would join former Indianapolis tight end Ken Dilger, former San Diego standout Freddie Jones and unrestricted free agent Byron Chamberlain, who played for Minnesota last season, in that category.
Each of the latter three have been in Foxborough for looks and it's likely that Riemersma would warrant similar attention. The Patriots currently are very thin at the position with only Jermaine Wiggins having any experience. Jabari Holloway and Arther Love, a pair of 2001 draft picks, missed the season with injuries and will compete for jobs in the summer. Last year's starter, Rod Rutledge, is an unrestricted free agent who won't likely return.