While most NFL teams are taking an extended look at undrafted free agents and other young players, the Patriots have an eye on a handful of veterans. According to Howard Balzer of The SportsXchange (via Twitter), New England recently worked out runnings backs Ronnie Brown and Brian Leonard, as well as tight ends Ben Hartsock and Nate Byham.
The Patriots haven’t carried many big-play receivers on their roster in recent years, but the club’s variety of options at running back and tight end give Tom Brady a number of weapons with which to work. Although New England didn’t select a tight end in this month’s draft, the team added Wisconsin running back James White to join Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen in the backfield.
Brown will turn 33 later this year, but contributed in a reserve role last season, accumulating 45 carries for 157 yards and a touchdown for the Chargers. Leonard also continues to earn touches, having totaled 47 rushes and 29 receptions for the Buccaneers in 2013. As for Hartsock and Byham, the two tight ends are primarily blockers — between them, they’ve hauled in just 42 passes in 160 combined games during their careers.
For now, it seems the Patriots have opted not to sign any of the players they auditioned, though that could change. It’s also possible that the club is keeping its eye on veteran free agents in the event of injuries later this summer.