Ryan Griffin, New England Patriots A Perfect Match

Ryan Griffin

The New England Patriots are down a tight end. Not long after Ben Watson announced his four-game suspension, the team reportedly parted ways with tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. These moves, of course, come just months after superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement. New England could use another body at tight end, and free agent Ryan Griffin could be a safe, high-floor depth signing.

New England Patriots Should Check Out Ryan Griffin

Griffin, a New England native, spent the first six years of his career with the Houston Texans. After entering the league as a sixth-round pick, Griffin managed to carve out a career as a dependable, albeit unremarkable, TE2. Throughout the course of his career, the UConn product has recorded 136 receptions for 1,491 yards and seven touchdowns.

Griffin isn’t much of a receiver, but he can make plays when called upon. Griffin recorded a career-high 50 receptions for 442 yards while playing in all 16 games back in 2016. However, aside from that one season, Griffin has never recorded more than 24 receptions or 305 yards. He’ll catch a handful of passes each year, but he’s not capable of being anything more than the fourth or fifth option in the passing game.

Griffin’s value primarily comes as a blocker. While he’s not capable of bulldozing guys like peak Gronkowski, he’s more than capable of holding his own in the trenches and opening up running lanes. Andrew Beck and Ryan Izzo are currently the leaders for the blocking tight end role, but neither player has any NFL experience. Should the Patriots want an experienced option with some receiving upside, they could do a lot worse than Griffin.

Why He’s Unsigned

Unfortunately, there is a reason Ryan Griffin is still available this late in the off-season. Griffin was in Nashville during the 2019 NFL Draft and broke a hotel window while intoxicated. The Texans released him following this transgression and he has remained unemployed since.

However, Griffin should be out of legal trouble. The NFL veteran had a court date in late May, and the court opted to dismiss his charges. While the NFL could issue a suspension, Griffin probably won’t receive anything too serious for a relatively minor offense.

This incident obviously doesn’t portray Griffin in bright light, but that hasn’t stopped New England before. The Patriots signed Michael Floyd and Alan Branch following their respective drunk driving charges. Floyd’s, in particular, was a doozy, as a video of his offense made its’ way onto the internet.

Griffin’s actions pale in comparison to that of Floyd and Branch, so there is a precedent here. While Griffin objectively isn’t as good as the other two, he’s still an NFL-caliber player at a position of need.

Last Word on Ryan Griffin in New England

Ryan Griffin won’t come close to replacing Gronkowski’s production, but he’s a good role player who can help bolster New England’s depth. Griffin is a blocking specialist who can provide some security, as Ryan Izzo and Andrew Beck have yet to play any meaningful professional football. Additionally, Griffin can serve as a depth option in the passing game and provide another late-read target for Tom Brady and the passing attack.

Griffin, of course, has something of a checkered past, but Bill Belichick doesn’t seem to care about these types of violations. Belichick believes that his culture can overcome these one-time poor decisions and he’s largely been correct. Griffin can play a role, will probably come cheap, and can help New England take home another championship. At the end of the day, that’s what matters.

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