Crumpler would fill Patriots void

Updated: March 19, 2010, 1:57 PM ET
By Mike Reiss | ESPNBoston.com

Barring an unexpected turn, the Patriots and free-agent tight end Alge Crumpler should be uniting in the coming days.

"We are closing in on a deal," Crumpler's agent, James "Butch" Williams, said Friday morning.

Williams added that no contract has been signed at this time. ESPNBoston.com reported Thursday night that the sides had reached an agreement, citing reports in the Boston Globe and Boston Herald.

Crumpler, 32, enters his 10th NFL season, having played for the Atlanta Falcons (2002-2007) and Tennessee Titans (2008-2009). At 6-foot-2, 262 pounds, he has been one of the league's more durable tight ends, missing only five regular-season games in his career.

Once one of the NFL's upper-echelon combination tight ends as both a pass catcher and blocker, Crumpler has slowed down of late. Although he was considered a key cog in the Titans' rushing attack as a blocker last season, he had just 27 receptions and averaged a career low 8.2 yards per catch.

The Patriots have a major need at the position after releasing veteran Chris Baker -- a surprising move -- and seeing Benjamin Watson sign a free-agent contract with the Cleveland Browns.

Robbie Agnone and Rob Myers are the lone tight ends on the roster, and neither has appeared in a regular-season NFL game.

Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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