The New England Patriots signed Benjamin Watson in free agency to provide depth and experience at tight end. However, they are going to have to wait before he can be used in the regular season.
Watson recently revealed on social media that he was facing a four-game suspension after failing a drug test in the following his retirement. On Thursday, that suspension became official, according to ESPN's Field Yates.
The four-game suspension for Patriots TE Benjamin Watson became official today. He can take part in all team activities until the team’s initial 53-man roster is finalized.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 30, 2019
Watson, 38, will miss games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and Buffalo Bills. He will be eligible to return to the team for their Week 5 matchup with the Washington Redskins.
Watson's suspension won't officially begin until the 53-man roster is finalized, but tight end will be one of the biggest position battles to watch in the offseason. The competition will be wide open, and several players will have a chance to establish themselves in Watson's absence.
Notably, the team signed veterans Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Matt LaCosse in free agency, and they could attempt to hold the fort until Watson can return. Seferian-Jenkins had a 50 catch, 337-yard, three touchdown season in 2017 before struggling with injuries in his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.
Meanwhile, LaCosse is coming off a career year with the Denver Broncos in which he grabbed 24 passes for 250 yards and a score despite starting just five games. In a bigger role, he could find success.
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