While everyone was focused on a Nnamdi Asomugha sighting this weekend in the Big Easy, the New Orleans Saints were also courting former Cleveland Brown and New England Patriot tight end Benjamin Watson – who signed with the team today.
The deal is said to be for three-years and no details have been given to how much the contract will pay Watson over that time frame.
Watson entered the league in 2004 after the Patriots selected him 32nd overall in the first round of the 2004 draft.
After playing in only one game his rookie season he landed on injured reserve, but later developed into a viable weapon for quarterback Tom Brady.
From 2005-2009 with the Patriots Watson caught 165 passes for 2,086 yards and 20 touchdowns.
His most famous play as a Patriot though was his pursuit and tackle of Champ Bailey during the Patriots’ 2005 AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Denver Broncos.
After Bailey intercepted a Tom Brady pass in the end zone it appeared he had a clear line towards the touchdown, but Watson, on the opposite side of the field, ran over 100-yards and delivered a crushing blow to Bailey at the two yard line causing him to fumble out of bounds.
Denver went on to score and eventually win the game, but to this day coaches still use Watson’s hustle play as an example of what kind of effort they expect on the field.
Prior to the start of the 2010 season Watson signed on with the Cleveland Browns as the teams number one tight end, and he didn’t disappoint.
In three seasons with Cleveland he totaled 154 receptions for 1,674 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Great numbers considering the lack of talent the Brown’s have had at the quarterback position over the last several seasons.
Watson best season with the Browns came in 2010 when he started every game posting 68 receptions for 763 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Now with New Orleans, Watson’s addition only bolsters the Saints already prolific passing attack and pairs him with super star tight end Jimmy Graham giving the team what is likely to be one of the most productive tight end pairs in the league.
Watson will play second fiddle to Graham, but given the Saints love of the pass there should plenty of opportunities for Watson to catch his fair share of balls.
Earlier this off-season the team parted ways with veteran tight end David Thomas leaving them with the need to find a replacement to backup Graham.
The Saints did meet with tight end prospect Travis Kelce at the Combine last month, and had been rumored to be interested in tight end Kellen Davis who was recently released by the Chicago Bears.