BOSTON (CBS) — Veteran tight end Kyle Rudolph could become available on the trade market in the near future. If that happens, there’s a very good chance that the Patriots will be among the teams interested in his services.
Rudolph, 29, has spent his entire NFL career with the Vikings after being drafted in the second round in 2011 out of Notre Dame. But Minnesota drafted Irv Smith in the second round of the this year’s Draft, and has recently been trying to rework an extension with Rudolph, who is owed $7.5 million next season.
But those talks broke off on Friday, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, which could lead to Rudolph being traded by the Vikings this offseason. Rapoport said there is interest around the NFL, and though the Patriots have not been connected to Rudolph, they will certainly kick the tires on adding a veteran tight end to Tom Brady’s offense.
Following Rob Gronkowski’s retirement in March, the New England depth chart at tight end currently features veterans Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Ben Watson (who came out of retirement and reportedly signed with the team on Thursday), Stephen Anderson, Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo and Andrew Beck. So there’s not a whole lot there, and none of those players are a lock to make the roster in August.
A two-time Pro Bowler, Rudolph has amassed 580 receptions for 3,787 yards and 41 touchdowns over his eight-year career. He had 64 receptions for 634 yards and four touchdowns for Minnesota last season, and had his best season in 2016, hauling in 83 catches for 840 yards and seven touchdowns.