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Spotlight on Benjamin Watson

03.12.10 at 8:39 am ET
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With the news that tight end Benjamin Watson has signed a three-year deal with the Browns, it brings down the curtain on an eventful career with the Patriots.

In his six years with New England, Watson was always one of the most polarizing players in a Patriots’ uniform. There was no middle ground with the first-round pick out of Georgia ‘€” his supporters believed he was a great pass-catcher who wasn’€™t being properly utilized in the Patriots’ offense, while critics pointed to his occasionally underwhelming numbers and penchant for bad drops.

Regardless of your feelings on Watson, he was a consistently positive locker room presence and, by all accounts, a very good teammate. In 2006 ‘€” his third season in New England ‘€” he had his best season with the Patriots, finishing with 49 catches for 643 yards. He certainly had some great moments in a New England uniform, but he will almost always be remembered as the guy who chased down Champ Bailey in the 2005 playoffs, a great hustle play that NFL Films took a look at here. He also had a chemistry with Tom Brady that will be difficult to replace ‘€” only one player (Randy Moss) has caught more touchdown passes from Brady than Watson.

Going forward without Watson and Chris Baker (who was released earlier this offseason) leaves the Patriots with just two tight ends, Robbie Myers and Robbie Agnone, both of whom were on the practice squad last season. New England has already worked out veteran tight end Alge Crumpler, and figures to check out some other veterans between now and the start of the season. With tight end being such a position of need, the Patriots could also use one of their early picks (they have four in the first two rounds in this year’€™s draft) on a tight end.

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