BOSTON (CBS) — It’s unclear if Jermichael Finley will be able to play this season, but the free agent tight end is still drawing interest on the open market.
And with their current lack of depth at the position, the Patriots are among the teams interested. But it will all depend on Finley’s health for the 2014 season.
Finley paid a visit to New England last Friday, according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan, and if healthy could provide another play-making tight end to Tom Brady’s arsenal. But that’s a big “if.”
The 27-year-old Finley bruised his spinal cord on October 20 last season and has not played since, but last week his doctors gave him full medical clearance after spinal fusion surgery. Last season was the final year of a two-year, $14 million contract he had with the Packers, who drafted Finley in the third round in 2008.
In 70 career regular season games, Finley has 223 receptions for 2,785 yards and 20 touchdowns. He had 25 catches for 300 yards and two touchdowns in six games last season before suffering the spine injury in Week 7.
As an unrestricted free agent, Finley is allowed to visit and be examined by any team.
It should come as no surprise the Patriots are exploring any and all options at tight end. Gronkowski is recovering from ACL surgery and it’s unclear when he will return, leaving D.J. Williams, Michael Hoomanawanui and rookies Justin Jones and Asa Watson as the only tight ends on the depth chart.
The Patriots also worked out veteran tight end Dustin Keller a few weeks ago. Keller is recovering from a torn ACL, MCL and PCL he suffered last preseason.
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