The New England Patriots continue to make low-risk signings to add depth to its roster at some key spots. According to ESPN’s Adam Caplan on Wednesday. The Patriots and former Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Clay Harbor have agreed to terms on a contract. The signing comes just a couple weeks after the team added former Pro Bowl tight end Martellus Bennett in a trade with the Chicago Bears.
The Patriots entered the offseason a bit thin at the position after releasing tight end Scott Chandler. With the addition of Harbor, the team is now loaded at the position. Not only does the team now have Bennett to go along with Rob Gronkowski, they now have Harbor, Michael Williams and the 2015 sixth-round draft choice AJ Derby.
The deal agreement comes after Harbor visited the team at the start of free agency, but he caught the eye of head coach Bill Belichick prior to the game the Jaguars played against the Patriots last season at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots head coach spoke highly of Harbor’s versatility as a tight end and fullback.
“I’d say Harbor is kind of similar to [Marcel] Reece,” Belichick said prior to the game via NESN. “He’s a fullback, tight end kind of guy, sort of lines up in a lot of different places. They use him in motion, change formations with him quite a bit. ..Harbor is a good receiver.”
Harbor caught three passes for 43 yards in that game and totaled just 14 passes for 149 yards during the entire season, but much of that was because he played behind tight ends Mercedes Lewis and Julius Thomas. In all, the versatile tight end played three seasons in Jacksonville and before that played three seasons in Philadelphia. While his production in the offense for both teams have been minimal, he has shown that he can be a reliable target off the line or out of the backfield.
So, not only will Harbor battle for playing time at tight end with the Patriots, he will also have to compete for some time at full back. New England has fullback James Develin returning from injury and also has Joey Iosefa under contract.