COMMENTARY | The last couple weeks of Aaron Hernandez's life have been well-documented, but it was this morning's events that could ultimately decide his future. The tight end was arrested for his potential involvement in the homicide of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, and then subsequently released by the New England Patriots.
While it may take several months to sort out what really happened the night of Lloyd's murder, the Patriots acted promptly in addressing the situation and attempting to keep their focus on football -- releasing this statement.
"A young man was murdered last week and we extend our sympathies to the family and friends who mourn his loss. Words cannot express the disappointment we feel knowing that one of our players was arrested as a result of this investigation. We realize that law enforcement investigations into this matter are ongoing. We support their efforts and respect the process. At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do."
New England made the right move here by distancing the organization from everything, but the team will be forced to scramble if it plans to maintain its offensive prowess. Not only will the Patriots be without Hernandez, but fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski's status for 2013 is up in the air after multiple operations this offseason.
Though doctors remain optimistic that Gronkowski will eventually make a full recovery following back surgery, the Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady rely too heavily on the tight end position to not find answers now.
There are plenty of names New England could look to for stability at the position, including in-house candidates Jake Ballard, Michael Hoomanawanui, Daniel Fells, Zach Sudfeld and Brandon Ford. There has also been plenty of chatter about Tim Tebow taking on the position, though the Patriots seem steadfast on him being the team's third-string quarterback for now.
Though prone to injury himself -- currently nursing his back and could be sidelined until training camp, along with missing the entire 2011 season with a torn ACL -- Moeaki offers the kind of versatility that head coach Bill Belichick covets in his offense.
In two healthy seasons with Kansas City, Moeaki has tallied 80 receptions for 1,009 yards and four touchdowns in 30 career games. While the Chiefs haven't necessarily used Moeaki to his capabilities, the Patriots are very upfront with their use of the tight end.
With Moeaki unable to go until training camp -- maybe beyond -- Kansas City is no position to wait around and must figure out its own situation at the position. Look for veteran Anthony Fasano and rookie Travis Kelce to emerge at the top of the depth chart.
Moeaki is entering the final year of his rookie deal and is slated to make $1.3 million in 2013. That number pales in comparison to what the Patriots have doled out to Gronkowski and Hernandez in the last couple years, and, unlike the Chiefs, New England is more likely to tap into Moeaki's full potential -- creating substantial value this season.
While Kansas City is not likely to get much in return for an oft-injured tight end in the final year of his contract, freeing up that money could be used to help sign No. 1 overall pick Eric Fisher. If there is still some sort of interest on New England's part, the Chiefs should pick up the phone and start this conversation.
Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites, including Podcast to Be Named Later--where he is the co-host of the site's up-and-coming podcast. Jeremy's work can be read on Yahoo! and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various sports talk shows around the country.Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- New England Patriots
- Aaron Hernandez
- New England
- Tony Moeaki
- Kansas City Chiefs