BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots and Benjamin Watson parted ways on Monday. But the breakup may not be long-term.
The Patriots did not activate the veteran tight end following his four-game suspension and released him on Monday. As head coach Bill Belichick explained on Tuesday, the Patriots simply didn’t have a roster spot available for the 38-year-old.
However, that could change in the near future.
“Like Ben, just we don’t have a roster spot for him right now. So, maybe that will change. But for the moment, that’s where it is,” Belichick told reporters Tuesday morning.
When asked about New England’s duo of young tight ends — Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo — Belichick expressed confidence that both will continue to get better as the season progresses.
“They are both younger players that are developing and have some upside, have done a decent job for us,” Belichick said. “So we have a ways to go, but have had enough production that we want to keep working with them.”
It has been a slow progression for LaCosse and Izzo, who have combined for just seven catches in the first five games of the season. But they’re coming off their best game, both in the passing game and blocking-wise, hauling in three catches for 61 yards against the Washington Redskins. Izzo scored his first touchdown in the game, a 10-yard score in the fourth quarter.
While New England’s younger tight ends are playing well, that didn’t make Monday’s news about Watson any easier for quarterback Tom Brady.
“Pretty tough. It’s tough for a lot of guys I’ve played with over the years,” Brady told reporters on Tuesday. “Ben is a great player; a great player for this team and other teams. He’s had an incredible career. Hopefully he can keep playing. I know he was looking forward to playing.
“I’ll miss him,” Brady continued. “As great of a player he was, he was an even greater person. I can’t say enough good things about Ben and what he’s meant to me, the team and my family.”
Brady sure sounds broken up over Watson’s departure. But maybe Belichick will have a surprise for his QB in a few weeks.