With Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez firmly established as the team's starters, Daniel Fells was signed earlier in the off-season to be the team's third option. Fells signed a three-year-deal for $5.25 million with $2 million guaranteed.
Just because Fells was guaranteed money, that doesn't guarantee him the third spot on the Patriots' roster. Bill Belichick will choose the better player regardless of his salary. Bringing in Bo Scaife creates good competition for the third spot on the tight end depth chart.
The competition may be predetermined however as Scaife and Fells are so different in styles.
Fells is a blocking tight end who can contribute as a receiver if necessary. Scaife is a receiving tight end who is capable of blocking when he is asked. Both are former starters but Scaife has proven himself more than Fells over the years.
Those years also bring age to Scaife however as he is now 31 years of age. Throw into the mix the fact that he missed the whole of last season because of a shoulder injury and Scaife's explosion and durability is a question mark entering this year.
Scaife likely only landed with the Patriots because of those issues. As far as talent goes, he is capable of starting in the league or at the very least getting a more active role with another team. Instead Scaife would provide the Patriots with three tight ends who are more than capable at lining up as receivers.
Scaife is the perfect addition to the Patriots mismatch offense as he further stretches defenses to their limits. Scaife isn't a dominant blocker, but he is certainly better than any of the Patriots' receivers. Because of that, the Patriots should play three tight end sets an awful lot next year.
With Gronkowski, Hernandez and Scaife lined up inside, the Patriots have too much bulk to be stopped by a nickel defense in the running game. In the same formation, the Patriots will have the ability to split Hernandez and Scaife or even Gronkowski out and cause matchup problems against base defenses.
It may not be a guarantee just yet, but don't bet against Bo Scaife making the New England Patriots 53-man roster come the start of the season.
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