The New England Patriots will face the New York Jets on Monday Night Football at MetLife Stadium with just two active tight ends on their roster – veteran Ben Watson and Eric Tomlinson. The Patriots re-signed Watson just one week after releasing him, while Tomlinson was signed by the Patriots from the free-agent pool. The signings were timely since both of the Patriots young tight ends – Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse – are out due to various injuries. Izzo was diagnosed for a concussion that he sustained during Thursday’s full-pads practice, while LaCosse suffered an MCL sprain and could miss a few weeks.

In the first six weeks of the regular season, Izzo and LaCosse were the only tight ends utilized by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

The Patriots signed Watson in the offseason, but he was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. In Week 5, the Patriots did not activate Watson against the Washington Redskins prior to his release several days later. Tomlinson has played three seasons for the Jets, where he caught 16 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. Aside from a veteran wide receiver, the Patriots are also working to add another tight end before the Oct. 29 trade deadline.

Buccaneers won’t trade Howard

According to Albert Breer of the MMQB, the Patriots recently reached out to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to inquire about a trade for underutilized tight end O.J.

Howard. However, Breer said the Buccaneers turned down the Patriots, stating they won’t trade Howard. A first-round pick for the Buccaneers, the 24-year-old Howard could have given the Patriots an immediate impact at tight end. In his first two seasons with the Buccaneers, Howard recorded 60 catches for 997 yards and 11 touchdowns.

However, his role with the Buccaneers has diminished, limiting him to just 13 catches for 176 yards. Aside from Howard, there were reports that the Patriots are also eyeing tight ends Tyler Eifert and Austin Hooper of the Cincinnati Bengals and the Atlanta Falcons, respectively.

Patriots likely to land Sanders, according to bettors

Initially, the Denver Broncos declared that they would not trade any of their veterans, particularly receiver Emmanuel Sanders. After their loss to the Kansas City Chiefs dropped them to 2-5, it looks like the Broncos have changed their mind. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Broncos are open to listen to offers for Sanders. It was also reported that the Broncos want a third-round pick or better for Sanders. Based on the latest betting odds from SportsLine Oddsmaker, the Patriots are favorites to land Sanders. The Patriots are the favorite to get Sanders before the trade deadline, followed by the San Francisco 49ers (+250), Philadelphia Eagles (+350), New Orleans Saints (+400), Carolina Panthers (+600), Baltimore Ravens (+700), Seattle Seahawks (+900) and the Green Bay Packers (+1000).