FOXBORO - The Lions are moving on from tight end Brandon Pettigrew. Could the Patriots be interested in moving him in?

New England’s tight end landscape has gone from brilliant to bleak in about a week with Rob Gronkowski done for the year, Martellus Bennett hobbling on bad ankles and an unknown Matt Lengel the only depth at the spot.

Which could put the team squarely in the market for anyone that could lend a couple of helping hands. Pettigrew is a former first-round pick who the Lions are reportedly about to release. They put him on the their non-football injury list on Tuesday, closing his chance to return to the team. He’d been practicing since November 22 and both he and Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter spoke positively about his return.

Pettigrew’s been rehabbing an ACL tear suffered last December. He turns 32 in February and was probably going to be released by the Lions in the offseason as he had a 2017 base salary of $4.35M. 

Once Pettigrew is released, he will pass through waivers as all players do after the trade deadline. If unclaimed, he can sign anywhere. His contract would travel with him so his new team would be on the hook for the remainder of his agreed-upon 2016 salary.

It wouldn’t be a horrific idea for the Patriots to put in a waiver claim on Pettigrew and see what he could bring them for the stretch run even if he had descended into disuse in Detroit.


Pettigrew caught 17 passes in the 22 games he’s played for the Lions since 2014. At 6-5, 278, he’s probably not as quick and agile as he was eight seasons ago when he was the 20th overall pick. Would it be a desperate move? Yes. But it’s a desperate situation at the position.