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Aaron Hernandez’s Replacement: Top 5 Options For New England Patriots

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Replacing Aaron Hernandez: Top 5 Options For New England Patriots

Aaron Hernandez
Steve Mitchell - USA TODAY SPORTS

Fed up with the Aaron Hernandez saga, the New England Patriots have released their starting tight end and are now focusing on who will replace No. 81. First off, the Patriots currently have six tight ends on their roster, but with Rob Gronkowski constantly getting injured it's always nice to have a few serviceable backups on hand.  While the other tight ends on the New England roster are rather good blockers, their pass-catching skills are suspect compared to that of Hernandez.

Thus, New England is likely pick up another tight end, but this late in the NFL offseason the talent pool is rather shallow. The top 10 free agents at this position have already signed on with someone else this offseason which leaves journeymen like Kevin Boss, who have a ton of upside but can't seem to stay healthy. It's guys like Boss who are available right now -- anyone can succeed with Tom Brady throwing to them, so free agents should jump at this rare opportunity.

The sad part is that Brady won't even recognize his targets this season.

A plethora of big names have left Foxborough as Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Hernandez will all be some place other than New England this fall. The Pats can't wait much longer if they hope to snag a savvy veteran off of the unemployment line, so here are five players that New England should think of when replacing Hernandez.

Devin O’Barr is the Content Commentator for Follow him on Twitter @DevinOBarrRS, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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No. 5 Option To Replace Aaron Hernandez: Randy McMichael

Randy McMicahel
Christopher Honewickel - USA TODAY SPORTS

The one thing you get with Randy McMichael is experience. Not to mention, the ex-San Diego Chargers tight end has not missed a game since 2008. The Pats need a guy who can stay healthy and despite being 33 years old, No. 81 can bring reliability and leadership to Foxborough.

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No. 4 Option To Replace Aaron Hernandez: Chris Cooley

Chris Cooley
Geoff Burke

There is a reason why Chris Cooley was loved by the Washington Redskins' faithful. Cooley is a class clown who has always treated the NFL media well -- this guy has a personality that would make Pats fans forget all about the Hernandez parade. A two-time All-Pro, Cooley has the ability to catch big-time touchdowns and would mesh well with Tom Brady.

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No. 3 Option to Replace Aaron Hernandez: Kevin Boss

Kevin Boss

Oddly enough, Kevin Boss won a Super Bowl playing against the New England Patriots back in 2007. Since then, Boss has bounced around quite a bit including time with the Oakland Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs. Boss played in four games last year, but has caught at least one touchdown in all six of his professional seasons which is a testament to his freakish athleticism.

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No. 2 Option to Replace Aaron Hernandez: Michael Hoomanawanui

Michael Hoomanawanui
Christopher Honewickel - USA TODAY SPORTS

Michael Hoomanawanui is unknown across the NFL, but he could very well step into Hernandez's very large shoes. Bill Belichick could plop the tight end/full back into a bigger role as Hoomanawanui is only 24 years old and has shown promise in the past. Of course, this would be the conservative route and the cheaper route -- this low-profile move would also make Jake Ballard the go-to guy in New England.

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No. 1 Option to Replace Aaron Hernandez: Dallas Clark

Dallas Clark

It's safe to say that Dallas Clark has been around the block once or twice. Although he has never played with Tom Brady, Clark spent nine years with the Indianapolis Colts where Peyton Manning was calling the shots. Clark's skills have not deteriorated whatsoever as the 34-year-old tight end reeled in three touchdowns last year and reinvented himself with 435 receiving yards. Rob Gronkowski needs a little bit of help with a few concerning off-the-field matters and Super Bowl champs like Clark are the kind of savvy veterans who can help Gronk attain his Hall of Fame potential.