Patriots Won't Activate Ben Watson, Making Him Free Agent

Benjamin Watson's second stint with the New England Patriots reportedly is over.

The Patriots have chosen not to activate the veteran tight end to their 53-man roster by Monday's 4 p.m. ET deadline, per ESPN's Mike Reiss. This move makes Watson a free agent.

The 38-year-old was signed by the Patriots in May. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2019 regular season. Watson was not activated by Saturday's deadline to play in Sunday's Week 5 road win over the  Washington Redskins.

This move isn't too surprising. 


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Patriots tight ends Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse have improved over the last few weeks, making Watson's return less criticial. Izzo and LaCosse were targeted a combined six times and tallied three receptions against the Redskins. Izzo hauled in two catches for 39 yards and a touchdown from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Watson's departure also opens up valuable salary cap space (around $2 million) for the Patriots, who could look to make a move before the NFL trade deadline, which is set for Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. ET. The veteran tight end was selected by the Patriots in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft. He spent the first six seasons of his career in New England.

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