Benjamin Watson had announced in December that he would be retiring at the end of the 2018 season. Apparently, the New England Patriots made the tight end an ‘offer he couldn’t refuse.’
As reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Watson is on the verge of signing a one-year deal with the Patriots worth $3 million. He visited the team in Foxboro on Thursday.
It is a homecoming, of sorts, for Watson, who began his career in New England. As first-round pick in 2004, he spent the first six years of his NFL career with the Patriots. Watson left the Pats in 2010. Since that time, he Watson played for the Browns, Ravens and (most recently) the Saints. During his 2015 season in New Orleans, he put up his career-best season, with 74 receptions for 825 yards. Watson’s contract with the Saints expired in March, making him a free agent. While it was widely assumed that he was headed for the greener pastures of retirement, rumblings began to surface that he might end up back in New England, after the retirement of Rob Gronkowski.
The Patriots had remained in the market for a tight end, after surprisingly passing on the position during the draft. Currently, Watson joins Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Stephen Anderson, Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo, and undrafted rookie Andrew Beck on New England’s tight-end depth chart. The club traded third-year pro Jacob Hollister to the Seahawks for a conditional seventh-round pick on April 29.
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the New England Patriots and provides NFL editorial content. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC