The New England Patriots have been severely haunted by the absence of Rob Gronkowski. Once the gargantuan tight end played his very last game in Super Bowl LIII, the Patriots entered a committed search for his replacement. They thought Benjamin Watson was that guy, but boy, were they wrong.
Now entering 2020 with this very same issue, it's time to look back at the Patriots' massive mistake in trading tight end Jacob Holister to the Seattle Seahawks for merely a 2020 seventh-round pick.
Back at the time of the trade, you may have thought, "hey, at least New England got something for a tight end that was bound to get waived." The problem with that logic? Hollister turned into a quality starter once moving to the Pacific Northwest.
Hollister's name was called upon last season in Seattle once starter Will Dissly went down with a torn ACL. In 11 games (three starts) with the Seahawks in 2019, Hollister caught 41 out of 59 targets from Russell Wilson for 349 yards and three touchdowns. Those numbers made Hollister the third-leading receiver on the team!
Those numbers resulted in the Seahawks placing a second-round tender on Hollister, assuring everyone that he's in their plans for the 2020 season, even if they signed veteran Greg Olsen.
Give credit to head coach Pete Carroll and his coaching staff, as they were able to do something that Bill Belichick and the Patriots couldn't: put Hollister in position to start realizing his full potential. Now, they're reaping the benefits while New England continues to search through the bargain bin for a starting tight end for 2020 and beyond.