Patriots

Patriots

The New England Patriots used a linebacker (Elandon Roberts) at fullback for much of 2019.

They may go the more traditional route in 2020.

The Patriots are close to a contract agreement with free-agent fullback Danny Vitale, NESN's Meredith Gorman reported Friday.

Click here for complete Tom Brady coverage and download the MyTeams App for the latest news and analysis.

Vitale spent the last two seasons with the Green Bay Packers, appearing in 15 games in 2019. He saw increased reps in Green Bay's passing attack last season, catching seven passes for 97 yards for an average of 13.9 yards per reception.

The 26-year-old came to the Packers via the Cleveland Browns, who signed Vitale off the Buccaneers' practice squad in 2016 after Tampa Bay drafted him in the sixth round out of Northwestern.

New England has a Pro Bowl fullback in James Develin, but the 31-year-old veteran went on injured reserve with a neck injury after Week 2 of last season.

Develin's status for 2020 remains unclear, and while the Patriots may just want to add depth at the position, their reported pursuit of Vitale could be a sign that Develin's health still is in limbo.

Either way, it appears head coach Bill Belichick still wants a fullback in his offense after Tom Brady's departure to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.