The New England Patriots passed on the chance to draft a tight end last weekend, and now they're subtracting from the position.
The team traded third-year pro Jacob Hollister to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for a 2020 conditional seventh-round pick.
The move leaves the Patriots with Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Matt LaCosse, Stephen Anderson, Ryan Izzo, and undrafted rookie Andrew Beck at tight end.
Hollister initially made the Patriots' 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent in 2017. His athleticism shined throughout the summer, and he looked to be a player with significant upside.
"He has a lot of football in front of him," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said early in 2018 training camp. "He didn't have a lot of experience -- had some -- but has gained a lot and will gain a lot more. I think he's got a great future. He works hard, he's a tough kid, he plays hard, practices hard and has become much better at his fundamentals and techniques at his position."
Hamstring injuries plagued Hollister throughout his second season. He appeared in eight games, catching four passes for 42 yards before being placed on injured reserve in January.
The Pats activated a similar player, Stephen Anderson, in his place for the postseason.
With Rob Gronkowski retired, the tight end position is full of uncertainty. Right now, Seferian-Jenkins and LaCosse -- two free agent signings -- are in line to battle for the starting job. Seferian-Jenkins is the superior talent, but he must stay healthy. Seferian-Jenkins has topped 10 games only once in five NFL seasons.
In the draft this past weekend, the Iowa duo of T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant came off the board at No. 8 and No. 20, respectively. Both would have been intriguing fits with the Patriots, but the club wasn't in position to draft either.
Ultimately, the Pats declined to address the tight end position altogether.
"We work across the board, and we try to rank the players accordingly," said Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio. "I mean, were there opportunities for us there? I mean, possibly. So it's always relative to what are your other options, what else are you looking at?"