BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots need a tight end, but they may not wait around for free agency or the NFL Draft to address the position. Just as long as one of their rivals is open to a deal.

The Patriots are reportedly exploring a trade for Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst, according to Eugene Frenette of The Florida Times-Union. The Jacksonville Jaguars are also interesting in adding the 2018 first-round pick, and whether the Ravens deal Hurst or not will depend on what draft capital teams are willing to give up, according to Frenette.

The Patriots have a nice collection of 2020 picks, so they should have the capital to swing a deal for Hurst. That is, as long as the Ravens are willing to help a team trying to catch them in the AFC.

Hurst, 26, caught 30 passes for 349 yards and a pair of touchdown for the Ravens last season. He has 28 NFL games under his belt with 43 receptions and three touchdowns. He had four receptions on six targets for 53 yards and a touchdown in Baltimore’s Divisional Round loss to the Tennessee Titans.

According to Frenette, Hurst wants to catch more passes, which has proven to be difficult in Baltimore behind fellow tight ends Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle on the depth chart. He is set to make just over $3 million in 2020.

The Patriots were interested in Hurst ahead of the 2018 NFL draft, with Bill Belichick meeting with the University of South Carolina prospect during the pre-draft process. Hurst is an all-around athlete, spending two seasons in the minors for the Pittsburgh Pirates out of high school before he decided to return to football. Had he played lacrosse in high school, chances are he would already be on the Patriots.

With a weak crop of tight ends in the upcoming NFL draft and the Pats needing to add some offensive help to the roster before Tom Brady makes his free agency decision, a trade for Hurst would make a lot of sense for New England. Now we’ll find out if the Ravens are willing to play ball with their competition in the AFC.


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