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Multiple league sources have reported that veteran tight end Alge Crumpler has informed the Tennessee Titans (his former employer) that he has agreed to terms with the New England Patriots. Crumpler, 32, is expected to ink an official deal with the Patriots later this week.
The Patriots released free agent Benjamin Watson, who signed with the Cleveland Browns last week, and cut veteran tight end Chris Baker. The exit of Watson and Baker left the Patriots without an experienced tight end. It now appears the team is going to rely on Crumpler to fill the void.
Crumpler spent the first seven seasons of his NFL career (2001-2008) with the Atlanta Falcons. Crumpler had a lot of success as a receiving threat in Atlanta where he was voted to four Pro Bowls and made two All-Pro teams. He set a career-high in receiving yards (877) in 2005, and caught a career-high 8 touchdown passes in 2006.
He spent the last two seasons (2008-2010) with the Tennessee Titans. Crumpler was used more as a blocking tight end in Tennessee paving the way for 2,000-yard rusher Chris Johnson and power back LenDale White. He failed to breech 300 yards receiving in both seasons with the Titans, and caught only two touchdown passes.
Despite being used almost exclusively as a blocker in Tennessee, I see no reason why Crumpler can’t turn back into one of the premier pass receiving tight ends in the NFL with the Patriots. Crumpler was out of place in Tennessee. The Titans run a power-style offense designed around handing the ball off to Johnson and White, and didn’t have an accomplished passer at QB in Vince Young. The Patriots offense on the other hand revolves around quarterback Tom Brady, who loves to throw the ball downfield.
Crumpler could provide Tom Brady with a big target in the middle of the field. He’s listed at 6 ft. 2, 262 lbs. But realistically he looks closer to 300 lbs. If Crumpler can shed a little weight, he could be just what the doctor ordered at tight end for the Patriots next season.
At 32, Crumpler is nearing the end of his career. The Patriots could be hoping they can get two or three more solid years out of him while they groom a young tight end to replace him.