It’s been quite clear for awhile now that the tight end position is relatively weak in depth when it comes to the New England Patriots. There are no viable No. 2 tight ends behind Rob Gronkowski. However, there is man that can change that, and his name is Tony Moeaki.
Moeaki was just waived today by Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey. That’s because Moeaki fractured his shoulder in August, causing him to be placed on injured reserve. The move to put Moeaki on injured reserve was used to free up a roster spot, and the tight end is expected to be healthy by Week 11.
When healthy, Moeaki has shown off the talent that scouts always knew that he had. In his rookie season of 2010, Moeaki caught 47 passes for 556 yards and three touchdowns. He tore his ACL in the 2011 preseason, which caused him to miss all of the 2011 regular season. Then Moeaki came back to catch 33 balls for 453 yards and one touchdown in the 2012 regular season.
So obviously Moeaki has flashed but is also very injury-prone. He missed one entire season in 2011 and will miss at least half of the 2013 season. But there’s no doubt he’s a talented player. For Moeaki to do what he did as a third-round rookie in 2010 was impressive. Then he put up a productive line a year after tearing his ACL, which is no easy feat in the NFL. Add that to the fact that Moeaki didn’t have a good quarterback throwing him the ball, and one should come away intrigued by what he can do in a functioning offense.
There’s another element at play here. Moeaki has played under Brian Daboll, who was the offensive coordinator of the Chiefs last season. For those of you who don’t know, Daboll is currently the quarterbacks coach for the Patriots, meaning Moeaki would probably be familiar with the offensive system.
Right now Moeaki is on waivers and can be claimed by any general manager. Given his injury history, it’s unlikely that Moeaki gets claimed. After clearing waivers, Moeaki can be signed to a non-guaranteed contract for the fourth-year veteran’s minimum. The risk is pretty much minimal at that point.
So Bill Belichick should consider bringing Moeaki in. He’d get a cheap, young player (26) who is familiar with the offense and could help fill a position of need. It would be too good to be true.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.