Patriots' trade for Lions tight end Michael Roberts falls apart, but Lions decide to waive Roberts anyway

Just over 24 hours after the Lions and Patriots agreed to a trade involving tight end Michael Roberts, the trade has fallen apart. 

On Friday, the Lions announced that "Roberts reverted back to the team's roster, per trade conditions." According to the Boston Globe's Jim McBride, Roberts failed his physical with the Patriots.

However, Roberts' reunion with the Lions didn't last long. The Lions also announced that they have waived Roberts, which means in a span of a day Roberts has gone from the Lions to the Patriots to the Lions to getting waived. And that ends a strange but brief saga.

The trade between the two teams was agreed to on Thursday when the Patriots sent the Lions a conditional seventh-round pick for Roberts. At the time, the move made sense for both sides. 

After adding Jesse James in free agency and spending a first-round pick on T.J. Hockenson, the Lions didn't really have a need for Roberts. Meanwhile, the Patriots have been cycling through a number of tight ends since losing Rob Gronkowski to retirement. They signed Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but have already cut him. They also added Benjamin Watson, but Watson has since been suspended for four games. Finally, there's Matt LaCosse, who signed with the Patriots in free agency. 

In short, the Patriots still need a solution at tight end after losing arguably the game's best-ever tight end. It's why they were connected with Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph before Rudolph signed an extension with the Vikings that'll keep him in Minnesota for the foreseeable future.

It's not clear if Roberts would've been the solution given his limited production to this point in his career, but the Patriots were willing to take a chance on him. A fourth-round pick in 2017, Roberts has caught 13 passes for 146 yards and three touchdowns during his two-year career. It was a classic buy-low trade by the Patriots, who hoped to turn a largely unknown player into a contributor on a deep offense that is lacking in star power at the skill positions. 

In that sense, given the low-stakes nature of the trade, it's not that big of a deal for either team. But it is noteworthy, because it means the Patriots could continue to be active in the trade market. 

As it stands, the Patriots have five tight ends on the roster: Watson, LaCosse, Stephen Anderson, Ryan Izzo, and Andrew Beck. That group will likely undergo changes before the season begins in September.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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