Jace Sternberger
Jace Sternberger will visit the Gillette Stadium prior to the 2019 NFL Draft next month. In this picture, Sternberger #81 of the Texas A&M Aggies scores on a 7 yard touchdown reception against the Northwestern State Demons during the first half of a football game at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, Aug. 30, 2018. Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The New England Patriots are actively seeking to fill the void left in the tight end group by Rob Gronkowski, who announced his retirement from the NFL after nine seasons with the Patriots. They are expected to add to the group via the 2019 NFL Draft.

The draft is just one month away and the NFL franchises are busy planning for their private workouts and each team can have up to 30 players every draft cycle. And the Patriots are already planning theirs with this year’s class possessing some quality tight ends that can make up for the Gronkowski void.

The top-rated tight end’s in their year’s class are Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant and Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr. and ranked just behind the trio is Texas A&M’s Jace Sternberger, who reportedly has a top-30 visit scheduled with the reigning Super Bowl champions.

NFL Draft Insider Jared Tokarz revealed that Sternberger will visit the Gillette Stadium ahead of next month’s draft. This will allow the Patriots to get a closer look at the potential second or third round pick and improve their knowledge of the tight end.

“Can confirm the Patriots have asked Texas AM TE Jace Sternberger for a top 30 visit. With all of their picks, and the recent retirement of Rob Gronkowski. This makes a lot of sense,” Tokarz wrote alongside a picture of the Texas A&M tight end.

Sternberger started his college career at Kansas but broke out during his lone season with Texas A&M totaling 48 receptions, 832 yards and 10 touchdowns in 13 games. The All-American did not post eye-catching numbers during the NFL Combine in Indiana in February and middle of the pack in most of the drills for tight ends.

Apart from Sternberger, the Patriots will also host Notre Dame wide receiver Miles Boykin for an official pre-draft visit. The New England franchise currently owns 12 selections in this year’s draft, which includes six in the first three rounds.

Meanwhile, there seems to be complete silence when it comes to talks about Tom Brady’s new contract as the legendary quarterback enters the final year of his deal with the Patriots. The final-year has a cap hit of $27 million and it was expected that a new deal will be agreed sooner in order to spread the hit and give the franchise some leeway in terms of cap space.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft admitted during the Super Bowl week that a new deal for Brady is a matter of formality, and it is expected to be done before training camp gets underway in July. But such a delay was unexpected as Brady has never played the final year of his contract in his 18 years with the franchise having always extended before.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was not willing to answer any questions regarding Brady’s contract when asked about it during the NFL owners meeting in Phoenix on Tuesday. He stated, according to Radio.com: "Yeah, I'm not going to get into any contract discussions. We never do that, so we're not going to start here now."