The New England Patriots are in a desperate state to upgrade their offensive weapons for 2020, but, with a veteran tight end like Greg Olsen on the market, Belichick is showing very little interest in pursuing him.
Obviously the Patriots tight end position has to be one of Bill Belichick's top priorities heading into the 2020 off-season. There are some solid options on the open market like Austin Hooper l, Hunter Henry, and Tyler Eifert. The Patriots could also explore some possible draft candidates like Thaddeus Moss and Jared Pinkney.
Greg Olsen is doing rounds with a few different teams since he was released by the Carolina Panthers, and the Patriots aren’t one of those teams. I have previously on a different post and during my show Sportscastr, that I don’t believe Olsen is a fit for New England, and the Patriots seem to agree with me, as they have shown no sign that they have any interest in meeting with Olsen.
During an interview on Super Bowl Sunday, Olsen said that he believed the Patriots were not interested in him, and that New England was waiting for Gronkowski to come out of retirement and return to the team.
“They’re trying to get Gronk back. If they don’t get him, I’m like third in line,” Olsen said on the FOX pregame show during the Super Bowl, via the Athletic’s Jeff Howe.
I didn’t have much of a reaction to Olsen’s comments. The only question that came to my mind was, “How does Olsen know that the Patriots are waiting for Gronk? I am also done holding my breath waiting for Gronkowski to come out of retirement. The Gronk retirement watch was a frustrating game to play last season, and it was only fueled by Gronkowski sending funny hints, and playing with the emotions of Patriots fans. We should have just taken him at face value when he said he was retired. The Patriots need to move forward expecting that Gronkowski won’t be returning. If he does come out of retirement, great! If he doesn’t, then the Patriots are still in the same position that they’ve all been, and need to build the tight end position back up.
I also doubt that Olsen had any real inside information, and I’m assuming his comment was just his opinion. There is no scenario in my mind that Belichick picks up the phone and calls Olsen or his agent and says, “Look, we’re waiting to see if Gronk is coming back, and if he isn’t we have another option we want to look at it. I just wanted to call you to let you know you’re third on our list”
The only thing that the Patriots can do right now is identify who they would like to sign, draft, or trade for, and start planning how they can make it happen. Belichick made a rare off-season mistake in 2019, and had no plan B if Gronkowski did retire. Gronk, who selfishly decided to wait until well into free agency to make his decision, let New England in a really bad spot.
Prior to Gronk announcing his retirement, the Patriots had an opportunity to sign Jared Cook, but he was hesitant about signing with the Patriots, because he didn’t want to be the number two tight end behind Gronk. By the time Gronkowski made his announcement, Cook was already very deep into negotiations and on the verge of a deal with the New Orleans Saints. So Belichick can’t sit on his hands this year. The Patriots were never able to fix the tight end group last season, and the combination of Ben Watson, Matt Lacosse, and Ryan Izzo, produced very little.
“According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Olsen seems to be deciding between three teams: the Washington Redskins, the Seattle Seahawks and the Buffalo Bills. There could always be an unreported team in the mix. There could also be a team that jumps into the mix by the end of the week. So it is possible the Patriots are or will be in play for Olsen.” - Henry McKenna, Patriots Wire
The worst case scenario for the Patriots would be Greg Olsen signing with Buffalo Bills and having a great season. Patriots fans for the most part are a little fragile right now, and I could only imagine my Twitter mentions if the Patriots offense struggled, and Olsen flourished in Buffalo, knowing that Belichick didn’t even make an effort to sign him.
Bill Belichick is not stupid, and he knows that he needs to address the tight end position in the offseason. But, it’s obvious that he does not see Olsen as the answer, and I agree. I don’t think that Olsen (35) is much of an upgrade over Ben Watson, and the Patriots need a significant upgrade over Watson in 2020.