You knew this already, but the New England Patriots need tight end help.

And they reportedly have a name atop their list entering NFL free agency.

The Patriots will be "tight end hunting" next week when free agency begins and are expected to pursue Eric Ebron, CLNS Media's Evan Lazar reported Thursday.

The NFL's legal tampering window opens Monday at 12 p.m. ET, while free agency officially begins Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.

The 26-year-old tight end spent the past two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts after four years with the Detroit Lions. He enjoyed a career campaign in 2018 with 66 receptions for 750 yards and 13 touchdowns but regressed in 2019, tallying 31 catches for 375 yards and three scores.

Ebron also has dropped 14 passes over the last two seasons and dropped nine balls in 2018, tied for third-most in the NFL.

But the athletic pass-catcher still would give an immediate boost a Patriots tight end position highlighted by Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse, who combined to catch just 19 passes from quarterback Tom Brady last season.

Adding firepower at wide receiver and tight appears to be a priority for New England this offseason. That priority may become pressing if New England wants to convince Brady to return for a 21st season instead of signing elsewhere next Wednesday when he hits unrestricted free agency.

The Patriots have other options at tight end outside Ebron; The Green Bay Packers officially released veteran Jimmy Graham on Thursday, while our Phil Perry discussed the merits of signing former Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry on the latest Next Pats Podcast.


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