FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots are acquiring third-year tight end Michael Roberts from the Detroit Lions for a conditional 7th-round pick in 2020, a league source confirmed to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Patriots are thin at tight end as they transition without Rob Gronkowski, who announced his retirement in March.
Four-year veteran Matt LaCosse was taking No. 1 reps in mandatory minicamp. He had a career high 24 receptions with the Broncos last season.
Meanwhile, veteran Benjamin Watson figures to be part of the mix, but he will miss the first four games of the season due to NFL suspension. Stephen Anderson, who spent the 2018 season on New England’s practice squad, rounds out the top of the depth chart along with 2018 seventh-round pick Ryan Izzo.
The Patriots inherit Roberts’ contract, which has two years remaining. Roberts is due to earn a base salary of $645,000 in 2019 and $735,000 in 2020. The Lions had drafted Roberts in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft out of Toledo. The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Roberts has played in 23 regular-season games over the last two years, totaling 13 catches for 146 yards and three touchdowns.
After Roberts struggled with injuries last season while appearing on the cusp of a breakout multiple times, Detroit worked to revamp the tight end room over the last six months. That included drafting T.J. Hockenson in the first round and Isaac Nauta in the seventh and signing free agents Jesse James and Logan Thomas. The quartet of new faces left Roberts in a tough spot in order to make the roster.
This is the latest in a litany of trades made between the Lions and Patriots since former New England staffer Bob Quinn took over as Detroit’s general manager in 2016 – including trading linebacker Kyle Van Noy to New England and making moves during various NFL drafts.
The Detroit News first reported the trade.