New England Patriots: Free Agent Needs at Wide Receiverby Prime Time Sports Talk March 15, 2019 0 comments
With an increasingly short wide receiver core, the Patriots need to find big targets for Tom Brady.
Entering the 2019 season, wide receiver is a glaring need for the New England Patriots. Julian Edelman is the reigning MVP of the Super Bowl, but the group behind him is slim. Philip Dorsett just re-signed with the team on a one-year deal, while Cordarrelle Patterson recently signed with the Chicago Bears. Chris Hogan is still a free agent and is taking his time before he makes a decision. He recently met with the New York Giants.
New England offered free agent Josh Gordon an RFA tender, showing their continued interest in the talented yet troubled receiver. Even if New England retains Gordon, he still is subject to an impending suspension.
Before the playoffs ended, coaches and fans were aware of the upcoming free agent situation. Avid followers of the squad suggested pursuing former Buccaneer Adam Humphries, who is a slot receiver tailored to Belichick’s liking. Unfortunately, Humphries landed with the Tennessee Titans. Reports surfaced that Humphries was uncommitted to the Titans after the Patriots offered a more lucrative deal with more guaranteed money, but the shifty receiver stayed true to his original deal.
Fans prayed for the reuniting of Danny Amendola and the Patriots, as the stars aligned once he was cut from the Miami Dolphins after one year. Given the year-long separation and the desperate need for receivers, it seemed like a match that would easily work itself out. However, in the first wave of pre-mature signings during the legal tampering period, it was announced Amendola would be signing a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions. Once again, it appeared that the Pats had missed out.
Following the team’s sixth Super Bowl win in February, many players were vocal on their thoughts of the Patriots, and Tom Brady. One voice that stood out was Eagles’ wide receiver Golden Tate, who claimed that he would “love to catch passes from Tom Brady.” Tate, who is a crafty route runner and best when he has the ball in his hands, would perfectly fill the role of the coveted slot receiver spot in New England. The former Lion, Seahawk, and Eagle is 30 years old but still feared by secondaries. Unfortunately, the slot receiver signed a four-year deal with the New York Giants.
Chris Hogan was spectacular in his first two seasons with the Patriots. After spending the first stint of his career in Buffalo, Hogan was anxious to have balls thrown his way by a competent quarterback. A former lacrosse player, Hogan has mechanical route running abilities leading to his nickname “7-11,” as he is always open. However, Hogan hit the wall hard last year. In multiple games, he was a non-factor, and it appeared he was dropping off. Still, the Super Bowl champion has a great relationship with the team and embodies the Patriot Way. He is one receiver the Patriots can’t afford to miss out on.
Preparing before last year’s trade deadline, the Patriots were ready to wheel and deal for a forgotten veteran: Randall Cobb. The deal was never completed, but it was evident the Patriots had their eyes on Cobb. Now, as a free agent, Cobb will have the choice to sign where he wants. It certainly wouldn’t be a downgrade to go from Aaron Rodgers to Tom Brady, and it would give Cobb a chance to win a Lombardi Trophy, something he missed out on in Green Bay. Only 28, Cobb still has a ton left in the tank.
Regardless of the roster, Belichick certainly has a plan. But even with Brady’s talent, he needs a supporting cast around him. Pass-catchers are being closely monitored along with Gronkowski’s retirement rumors. If the big tight end returns for a final round, it will provide a sigh of immediate relief for the Patriots. Whichever free agent receiver ends up in a Patriots jersey will have to prepare for an environment like no other in the NFL.