I think that we can all agree that though we have high hopes for Jake Ballard, it might be a good idea for the Patriots to look to free agency to find a replacement for Hernandez in case Ballard doesn’t cut it. I think we all need to remember that Ballard is coming off a season in which he didn’t play a single game due to injury and he's virtually a rookie playing just 14 games in his career. On top of that we are without Gronkowski for the first half of the season.
Remember that annoying guy named Dallas Clark that tore the Patriots up with Peyton Manning? Yeah, he’s a free agent and his stats rival Hernandez’s and are even better than Ballard’s. With years of 45, 79 and 51 receptions for Hernandez over the past three years, Clark reeled in 47 receptions last season with the freaking Bucs and in 2009 he caught 100 passes from Manning.
If this current situation teaches the Patriots nothing else, it should teach them that a little insurance isn’t a bad thing. This offense has been built upon this two tight end idea that is similar to philosophy in any sport. The taller, faster and stronger you are the better player you are and these faster tight ends (Hernandez) and huge wide receivers (Megatron) are no different being hybrids of each other’s positions and ultimately changing the entire scope of the league.
Now, I think Josh McDaniels could earn his paycheck and draw up a new offense that works with our excess of good running backs to incorporate more screens and better designed run plays, which would make us look like, quite frankly, the old Patriots that won titles. However, this two tight end system obviously works so I turned to free agency to look at who’s out there.
I’m done ranting about how dumb Hernandez is and I want to move on and talk about people that aren’t murderers. Dallas Clark is 34 years old and wouldn’t require a big commitment in money, but he knows how to go out for passes and block as a veteran in this league for 11 years. Bring this guy in just in case Ballard doesn’t do well.