Trying to figure out why the Patriots would kick the tires on veteran tight end Dallas Clark
|05.18.12 at 1:14 pm ET|
The Patriots had tight end Dallas Clark visit Foxboro on Tuesday, according to Shalise Manza-Young of the Boston Globe. Clark, who will turn 33 next month, has impeccable credentials — the former All-Pro has 427 catches in nine years in the NFL, including a whopping 100 in 2009. As the old core continues to be dismantled in Indy, it appears that the free agent will be the next to officially leave the Colts.
Despite Clark’s resume, on the surface, it appears to be a puzzling move — New England has two premiere young tight ends in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, and they added a veteran in Daniel Fells over the course of the offseason. But one thing worth noting is that the 6-foot-3, 252-pounder is represented by agent Neil Cornrich, who has worked very closely with Belichick in the past. How closely? Cornrich has worked as Belichick’s lawyer in the past, and has steered some relatively under-the-radar players in Belichick’s direction before, including Stephen Neal (after the former college wrestling champion was looking for a place to play professional football) and Mike Vrabel, who was working as a backup linebacker in Pittsburgh before he signed with the Patriots prior to the 2001 season.
Whether it’s Belichick doing a favor for a friend or genuine interest on the part of New England, it’s not a big surprise that the Patriots would at least bring him to kick the tires and see what he has left. If he can still play and the money is right, New England would find a spot for him. The Patriots have added wide receivers at a dizzying pace this offseason — why not an extra tight end or two? After all, Clark passes what we call the Rosevelt Colvin test: Belichick has raved about him over the years, often unprovoked. Check out this quote from Belichick on Clark from 2009:
‘He’s a terrific player, very hard to defend,’ Belichick said of Clark. ‘He pretty much can do everything that you would ask a tight end to do. He’s a great vertical receiver. He can get open on the short and intermediate routes. He’s a good possession receiver on third down and in the red area. He’s good after the catch. He does a good job blocking.’