BOSTON (CBS) — There is speculation heating up that the Patriots will be active at the NFL trade deadline, looking to solidify Tom Brady’s wide receiving corps. But the problem for the Pats is they don’t have much wiggle room under the salary cap.
That could be bad news for tight end Benjamin Watson. The veteran was inactive for Sunday’s 33-7 win over the Washington Redskins, and the Patriots have until 4 p.m. on Monday to activate or release him.
After Rob Gronkowski called it quits over the offseason, the Patriots convinced Watson to come out of his own brief retirement. Watson had already started his retired life when he signed with the Patriots, and warned the team that he’d be slapped with a four-game ban for violating the league’s PED policy if he returned. The Pats didn’t mind, and were willing to wait a month into the season to get Watson back into the mix.
But now that the team is struggling at wide receiver, they may decide to part ways with Watson so they can make a move ahead of the October 29 trade deadline. ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss discussed the situation with Dan Roche on WBZ-TV’s Sports Final on Sunday night.
“They’re tight against the salary cap and I don’t think it’s a slam dunk that [Watson] gets activated. If they don’t activate him, they would save about $2 million and they might need that space. They have about a million worth of space, and they might need that for the rest of the season,” explained Reiss. “They might look at it and say he’s not going to do much on special teams, so how much of that is an upgrade is he from Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo, especially coming off this game? I know it’s the Redskins, but they might feel OK with the young guys.”
Izzo caught both passes that were sent his way on Sunday, including a 10-yard touchdown strike from Brady in the fourth quarter. It was the first touchdown by a Patriots tight end this season.
Reiss points out that part of New England’s current salary stems from signing Antonio Brown.