BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots’ quest to fill the void left by Rob Gronkowski’s retirement continues.
The team acquired tight end Eric Saubert in a trade with the Falcons, as first reported by Mike Reiss of ESPN.
The Patriots will send a conditional seventh-round pick back to Atlanta to complete the deal.
The 6-foot-5, 253-pound Saubert was drafted in the fifth round of the 2017 draft. He’s played in 30 games over the past two years but has caught just five passes on nine targets for 48 yards.
In his collegiate career at Drake, Saubert caught 190 passes for 2,253 yards and 21 touchdowns over four years, capped with a senior season of 56 receptions for 776 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Outside of stats, the Patriots are going to need contributions from their tight ends as blockers. In addition to losing Gronkowski to retirement, the Patriots also lost veteran Dwayne Allen to free agency. Both tight ends played a major role in the run game.
The Patriots’ current depth chart at tight end includes Ben Watson, Matt LaCosse, Lance Kendricks, Ryan Izzo, Stephen Anderson, and Andrew Beck. LaCosse, though, suffered an injury in Thursday night’s preseason opener.