The New England Patriots have an uncertain future at the tight end position. Rob Gronkowski's future is murky and there have been some rumblings that he might retire. Considering these rumors and his injury history, it's hard to trust him moving forward.
Elsewhere, top backup Dwayne Allen has a $7.3 million cap hit in 2019, so he may need to restructure his contract if he wants to remain in New England.
With those major questions surrounding what has become a critical position in the Patriots offense, it's no surprise that the team is looking into some of the top tight ends at the 2019 NFL Combine.
According to NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry, the team has already met with or plans to meet with Noah Fant, Irv Smith Jr., Jace Sternberger, Kaden Smith, and Isaac Nauta at the combine. It's clear that the team is intent on scouting this tight end class heavily and may be interested in adding one early.
Of the group, Fant and Irv Smith Jr. stand out as potential first- or second-round options. Fant has scored 18 touchdowns over the course of the past two seasons despite playing with another potential first-round tight end prospect, T.J. Hockenson, and has previously been mocked to the Patriots in the first-round by NFL Network's Charley Casserly.
Meanwhile, Smith Jr. had a breakout year at Alabama playing with Tua Tagovailoa, catching 44 passes for 710 yards and seven touchdowns.
The tight ends will work out and do on-field drills on Saturday at the combine, along with the wide receivers and quarterbacks.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.