No, I am not writing this because Gronk was considering retirement. This is more of a “who else will make the roster” battle. Gronk won’t be beat out by anybody on the roster. However, with his injury history the spots behind him have become an important position on the Pats. The battle will be interesting to see who lands in Brady’s circle of trust.
Dwayne Allen – Allen held this spot pretty much all of last season. However, he didn’t do much with it. He finished the season with a whopping 10 catches. He was used in more of a blocking role, however I think he was mostly disappointing. It would not surprise me to see him miss the roster altogether this coming season.
Troy Niklas – Niklas is a baby Gronk. He is a beastly 6’6″ 270 pound tight end that moves very well. If he can find himself in Brady’s trust circle, he should definitely make this roster. He could also be a future plan for this offense if Gronk retires or a contract does not get worked out for him, he could step in as a replacement.
Jacob Hollister – Another tight end who spent most of last season on the active roster, Hollister never seemed to get a ton of playing time. He might be a solid third option on the roster for emergency situations, but he did not make a big enough impact to turn into a clear cut replacement.
Will Tye – Tye was on the Giants and never really made a huge impact and found himself on the Pats at the end of last season. He is similar to Dwayne Allen, where he is capable of catching passes but is usually used as more of a blocking tight end. He could score himself a spot if he outshines Allen in the preseason.
Ryan Izzo – Izzo was the Pats 7th round selection, so it might be a long shot for him to make the squad. He was known as more of a blocking tight end as well at Florida State, but he is another very large target at the position. He could be the kind of guy the Pats turn into a threat in the passing game. Maybe this season he sits on the practice squad, and finds himself making an impact late in the season.
-Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)