Patriots Linked to Projected $34 Million Pass-Catcher to Fill Major Hole

Patriots Linked to Projected $34 Million Pass-Catcher to Fill Major Hole

We do not know, exactly, what will become of the tight end situation with the Patriots this NFL offseason. As of now, there is precisely one tight end on the roster, and that is La’Michael Pettway, a former USFL player who spent much of last season on the practice squad and was signed to the roster in January. It’s a good bet that the Patriots will not go into 2024 with Pettway as their top tight end.

Patriots Linked to TE Dalton Schultz Amid Hunter Henry Rumors ...

In fact, the Patriots could be looking at one of the best tight ends available on the market, according to ESPN insider Jeremy Fowler. That would be Dalton Schultz, the former Cowboys star who had been looking for a major contract last offseason but ultimately had to settle on a one-year, $6.25 million deal with the Texans.

As Fowler wrote this weekend, “Dalton Schultz didn’t get his big payday last year due to a deep tight end class, but it should come this time after a good season with the Texans. Enough teams expect him to clear $10 million per year. New England is one to watch here potentially, as is a return to Houston. The Seahawks’ Noah Fant will also do well.”

Patriots Far Apart on Hunter Henry: Report

The Patriots do have their own pretty notable name of their own on the free-agent market at tight end, one of last year’s captains, Hunter Henry. It is possible that the team’s rumored interest in tight ends around the league are more of a negotiating ploy with Henry than anything else, but there is no doubt there are options on the market if things do not work out with Henry.

Henry did not have a productive season last year, but that was more of a function of an inept offense. He finished up with 42 catches and 419 yards, with six touchdowns. His yardage represented a career low, and he missed three games because of injury.

According to MassLive, the Patriots are not only considering Schultz but also former Browns tight end Austin Hooper, who worked with new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt in Cleveland.

“While the Patriots would like to bring Hunter Henry back, the tight end is likely to hit free agency,” MassLive reported. “The two sides are far apart on an extension. A name to watch for the Patriots could be Austin Hooper, who was with the Cleveland Browns 2020-2021, overlapping with Van Pelt. Harrison Bryant also played for Van Pelt last season. Other notable free agents are Dalton Schultz and Noah Fant.”

Dalton Schultz Had Solid Season in Houston

As for Schultz, he was outstanding in 2021, when he had 78 catches, 808 yards and eight touchdowns for Dallas, and while he has not reached that level again, he is still one of the most reliable pass catchers at the position.

He went for 59 catches and 635 yards last year in Houston.

Spotrac projects Schultz’s value at three years, $34 million and Pro Football Focus has him in the same neighborhood, getting $33 million over three years.

As PFF wrote about Schultz: “Schultz served as a reliable target for rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud in Houston. Schultz is sure-handed and has a respectable 8.7-yard average depth of target but doesn’t rack up a ton of yards after the catch. As a blocker, Schultz is capable enough in line to be a positive in the run game, earning grades above 60.0 in five straight seasons.”

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