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Clay Harbor to Patriots: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Clay Harbor runs on the field before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.(AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2016

The New England Patriots' pursuit of veteran tight ends didn't stop with Martellus Bennett. According to ESPN's Adam Caplan, the Patriots agreed to a deal with Clay Harbor on March 30.

Mike Reiss of ESPN reported on Tuesday that it's a two-year deal with $3 million cash value and $400,000 in guarantees.

Harbor spent the last three years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He caught 14 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown for the Jags in 2015.

The Philadelphia Eagles selected Harbor in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft. Over the next six years, the 28-year-old never produced gaudy numbers. He has 111 career receptions for 1,151 yards and eight touchdowns in 83 games.

Harbor underwent surgery in January for a sports hernia. Earlier this month, he shared a clip from his offseason training program:

The reasoning behind this move likely lies in what Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said during his pregame press conference ahead of New England's Week 3 matchup with Jacksonville, per the team's official website:

I'd say that Harbor is kind of similar to [Oakland Raiders fullback Marcel Reece]. He's a fullback, tight end kind of guy. [He] sort of lines up in a lot of different places. They use him in motion, change formations with him quite a bit. They do a good job attacking all three levels of the defense—down the field, a lot of intermediate routes. They hit a lot of in cuts, a lot of over routes, a lot of those 15 to 25-yard routes that not all teams throw, but they throw plenty of those.

The Patriots won't need Harbor to play a major role in the offense. They already had the best tight end in the league, Rob Gronkowski, before trading for Bennett. As long as those two players stay healthy, they'll wreak havoc on opposing secondaries.

Harbor's presence will merely give defensive coordinators another wrinkle in New England's offense to think about. He'll also be a nice option when the Patriots need an extra blocker rather than a pass-catcher.

If anybody can make the most of Harbor's versatile skill set, it's Belichick and his coaching staff.

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