The best tight end in the NFL, when healthy, still needs a backup. The New England Patriots‘ Rob Gronkowski is often injured, and could use a better backup than Michael Hoomanawanui. The “Hoo-man” wasn’t bad, but had total numbers in 2013 similar to what Gronkowski can produce in one game. Instead of relying on the draft, signing an already proven veteran to backup Gronkowski would make more sense for the 2014 Patriots.
The Patriots are already full of youth in their passing game, with Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins being only second-year players. The Hoo-man is only 25, but nowhere near the player Gronkowski was as a 20-year-old rookie! The two-tight-end set adopted by the NFL these days (after the dominance of the Patriots) was lacking in New England in 2013. Adding a guy like Owen Daniels would only solidify that won’t be the case this upcoming season.
Daniels thrived on the Houston Texans. He had Matt Schaub as his quarterback. Imagine if he had Tom Brady throwing to him, even in a backup role behind Gronkowski? Schaub was good a few years ago, but at his best, he is at a “middle-of-the-bus” type quarterback. With the absence of Peyton Manning, he took advantage and won his division two years in a row, but to me, those titles have asterisks on them.
As a 29-year-old veteran, Daniels can at least provide more guidance and leadership to the 24-year-old Gronkowski and 25-year-old “Hoo-man.” He could be signed for very cheap, and with the restructuring of Vince Wilfork‘s contract this week, the Patriots have plenty of room for a cheap, reliable signing.