As the Patriots often do, they have surprised as free agency approaches.
Today's release of veteran tight end Chris Baker was unexpected, especially considering that their other top tight end, Benjamin Watson, is scheduled for unrestricted free agency. That leaves only the untested Rob Myers and Robbie Agnone on the roster and creates a major void that must be addressed.
This year's free-agent crop is considered weak at the position, with Watson one of the top options. As for the draft, analysts consider it deep at the position. A trade is always a possibility and this could intensify the chatter around the possibility of acquiring Greg Olsen from the Bears.
Baker played in every game in 2009 and was on the field for 61 percent of the team's snaps, with his primary contributions coming as a blocker. He finished with 14 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
When he caught two touchdown passes in the preseason opener at Philadelphia, it looked like the Patriots had found an impressive piece to add to the offense. Yet that turned out to be one of the high points of Baker's one-year stay with the team.
Now, the Patriots have a big question at tight end.