The tight end situation for the New England Patriots became even more interesting after the team reportedly cut Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who was expected to be their top tight end to fill the void left by Rob Gronkowski. According to Field Yates of ESPN, the Patriots already informed Seferian-Jenkins regarding their decision to release him. In a separate report, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media said Seferian-Jenkins is stepping away from football to deal with some "personal issues.” However, it remains unclear if he’ll return to the Patriots or sign with another NFL team.

The Patriots signed Seferian-Jenkins to a one-year contract worth $895,000 with $50,000 in guaranteed money in April. This was days after Gronkowski announced his retirement after a nine-year stint with the Patriots. The 26-year-old Jenkins missed the team’s voluntary offseason workout program and was absent during the first day of the Patriots’ mandatory minicamp.

With Seferian-Jenkins’s release, the Patriots currently have Ben Watson, Matt LaCosse, Stephen Anderson, Ryan Izzo and Andrew Beck as tight ends. However, Watson will miss the first four games of the regular season after he was suspended by the NFL for violating the league’s policy against use of performance enhancing drugs. In his six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars, Seferian-Jenkins tallied 116 catches for 1,160 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Matt LaCoss could step up for Patriots

The release of Seferian-Jenkins could pave the way for LaCosse to have a breakout year as the Patriots’ main tight end. The Patriots pulled off a surprise when they signed the 26-year-old LaCosse to a two-year deal worth $2.8 million, including $500,000 in guaranteed money during the offseason.

The 6-foot-5 LaCosse spent his first two seasons with the New York Giants after he went undrafted in 2015.

LaCosse had a breakthrough year with the Denver Broncos in 2018 where he caught 24 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown. With Seferian-Jenkins out and Watson suspended for four games, LaCosse could see a bigger role with the Patriots.

“I look at whatever they need me to do,” said LaCosse, adding that he could play any role on offense for the Patriots, even on special teams.

Brady, Harry connect in training camp

Veteran quarterback Tom Brady skipped the team’s voluntary offseason workout to give more time to his family. However, he allotted some time to connect with his wide receivers, Julian Edelman and rookie N’Keal Harry. On Day 1 of the Patriots’ minicamp, Brady made up for lost time as he further connected with Harry and several other teammates.

While most of the first day of minicamp focused on punt coverage and return teams, Brady was spotted with Harry, Watson and running back James White working in a small group, working on goal-line routes for the veteran signal-caller. Harry, the Patriots’ first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, also took extra reps with Brady. After the two-hour practice, Harry said he and Brady focused on working on their respective crafts.