Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Making sense of the Patriots' Shiancoe signing


The Patriots definitely didn't have enough tight ends, so they got another one Tuesday.

New England, which already plays home to the best tight end in football in Rob Gronkowski and another versatile end who would start on almost any other team in Aaron Hernandez, added veteran Visanthe Shiancoe, the former Viking and Giant, to its loaded pass-catching and blocking corps.

Shiancoe (photo: Michael Wifall, Flickr), who has caught 27 touchdowns in nine seasons, reportedly also visited with the Eagles but decided to settle in Foxborough. The signing could indicate a few things on both sides.

At first glance, given the fact that Gronkowski and Hernandez are slated to see a ton of playing time as it is, you wonder why New England would bother to add a tight end of Shiancoe's caliber, or why Shaincoe would want to become a Patriot under the circumstances. New England also has fifth-year tight end Daniel Fells, formerly of the Broncos and Rams, on its roster.

However, Fells is starting training camp on the PUP list, and Gronkowski is returning to the field this week for the first time this offseason since suffering an ankle injury.

Plus, it's been speculated that Hernandez's role in 2012 will often resemble that of a receiver, and he's not the best run-blocker as it is. Shiancoe can run block.

As for Shiancoe's perspective, he would've likely taken on a bigger role in Philadelphia, but his decision to go with the Patriots indicates he feels New England is a better landing spot for a player on the back end of his career looking for a ring.

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