Report: Patriots Trade for Lions TE Michael Roberts with Rob Gronkowski Retired

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2019

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Michael Roberts #80 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a field goal during the second quarter at Ford Field on September 24, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

The New England Patriots are reportedly set to acquire tight end Michael Roberts from the Detroit Lions.

According to Justin Rogers of the Detroit News, New England will send a late-round draft pick to the Lions to complete the trade. ESPN's Adam Schefter, citing a source, later reported the Lions will receive "a conditional 7th-round pick in 2020."

Roberts will add some additional depth to a suspect tight end position in New England following the retirement of Rob Gronkowski this offseason.

Detroit selected Roberts in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft. In two seasons, he has registered 13 receptions for 146 yards and three touchdowns.

Most of that production came last season when he made nine grabs for 100 yards and three scores. A shoulder injury limited him to the first eight games of the season.

Detroit Lions @Lions

🚨TOUCHDOWN🚨 @Mikeey___ https://t.co/cwEUaX8Y6f

The 6'5", 265-pounder was viewed as a potential sleeper after a highly productive senior season at Toledo with 45 catches for 533 yards and 16 touchdowns.

He became expendable to the Lions when they selected tight end T.J. Hockenson in the first round of the 2019 draft and signed Jesse James in free agency.

The 25-year-old Cleveland native will look to realize his potential in New England under head coach Bill Belichick.

Lions head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn each spent more than a decade in the Patriots organization, which may have helped facilitate the trade for Roberts. It isn't the first time that the Lions and Pats have talked trade involving tight ends, as Gronkowski confirmed that he was nearly dealt to Detroit last offseason. 

Roberts is no Gronk, but his athleticism and pass-catching ability could allow him to emerge among a questionable group of tight ends in New England.

Following the retirement of Gronkowski and release of Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Ben Watson, 38, is atop the depth chart. Watson came out of retirement to sign with the Patriots, but he is suspended for the first four games of the 2019 season.

Until Watson returns, Matt LaCosse and Stephen Anderson are the Patriots' top options at tight end. LaCosse has 27 catches for 272 yards and one touchdown in 22 career games, while Anderson has 36 receptions for 435 yards and two touchdowns in 28 games.

Given the lack of proven commodities until Watson returns, Roberts has a chance to win New England's starting tight end job out of training camp. Being quarterback Tom Brady's top option at the position would potentially make him a valuable fantasy commodity as well.