The New England Patriots may be looking to bring in reinforcements, perhaps either Dallas Clark or David Thomas, to help out at the team's ailing tight end position. The Pats' troubles are well-documented, from Rob Gronkowski's constant injury problems to Aaron Hernandez's even more serious part in a murder investigation. According to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, Clark and/or Thomas would both fit the Pats' offensive scheme, as well as the culture of the team:
The Patriots hosted the 34-year-old Clark on a free-agent visit last offseason before he signed with the Buccaneers, and the 29-year-old Thomas played for the Patriots from 2006-2008. Both are more "move" type tight ends and would fit more in the Hernandez-type role -- Clark at 6-foot-3 and 252 pounds, and Thomas at 6-foot-3 and 248 pounds -- and both have the reputation as being top-notch locker room guys.
There is a chance that both Gronkowski and Hernandez will not be available at the start of the season and beyond, making depth all the more critical. Currently, the Patriots have Jake Ballard, Michael Hoomanawanui and Daniel Fells on the depth chart, none of whom have ever approached the elite levels of production of the Pats' two young superstars.
Clark, meanwhile, had one of the most productive seasons ever for a tight end in 2009, catching 100 passes, though his numbers have fallen precipitously since. He still caught a respectable 47 passes for 434 yards last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and finished a full 16-game regular season slate for just the second time in his 10-year career.
Thomas has never caught more than 35 passes in any season, but he has the benefit of being familiar with the Patriots' organization. At 29 years old, he also has less wear on his body than Clark.