Updated 04:34 PM EST, Sun, Jan 16, 2022

NFL Free Agent Rumors: New England Patriots Taking Closer Look at TE Dustin Keller

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The New England Patriots are among teams expected to make a run for tight end Dustin Keller, who is planning to make a successful return from a serious knee injury last season.

CSN New England NFL analyst Tom Curran disclosed New England's potential interest in Keller, who suffered ACL, MCL and PCL and dislocated knee after absorbing a devastating hit from the  Houston Texans' D.J. Swearinger in the preseason.

Keller, who caught for 2,876 yards on 241 receptions with 17 TDs, could still be ready to make a return for the start of the 2014 season after doctors found out that no vital nerves were damaged due to his injury, according to Keller's agent Eugene Parker.

"His agent, Eugene Parker, recently said Keller will be ready for 2014. That being the case, anticipate Keller being on New England's radar post-draft," according to Curran.

Better Fit with the Patriots

The possible acquisition of Keller could be a blessing for New England quarterback Tom Brady in a tight-end heavy Patriots offense. The Pats already have perhaps the finest player at that position in Rob Gronkowski and might take a move to get Texas Tech's Jace Amaro, who is considered by many scouts as one of the best tight ends available in the draft class.

However, Curran believed the Patriots should also consider signing Keller as another option this offseason. Before a miserable 2012 season with the NY Jets, Keller was a powerhouse at tight end.

The 29-year-old Keller covered at least 500 yards in each of his first four seasons with the Jets with 5 touchdowns during both the 2010 and 2011 seasons. In addition, he's viewed by teammates as a great presence in the locker room.

Ever since the arrest of Aaron Hernandez, New England has been looking for a player capable of giving them depth at the tight end position. There are several scouts doubting Keller's capacity to return to his pre-injury form, while others think he can.

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