With Week 1 in the books, it’s clear that the New England Patriots need to add some depth to their receiver corps. Since the game, they have waived Riley McCarron because he decided to try and catch a punt with his face. This was an expected result given the lack of resources put into him as a player. I admit, I was rooting for him, I enjoyed the underdog story, but you can’t drop a punt, let an opponent back in the game, and expect to get away with it. They also waived Chad Hansen, but that doesn’t matter.
On Tuesday, September 11, they attempted to fix their depleted receiving corps by signing Bennie Fowler, a former Bronco, and Corey Coleman, a former Brown featured on this season of Hard Knocks. Both of these signings solve very little when you look at this roster. Edelman may be returning soon, but Hogan was useless on Sunday, and I don’t anticipate Dorsett to be consistent or Patterson to do much more than he did.
Fowler was an undrafted free agent in 2014 for the Broncos. While he’s never been a star, he has proven somewhat dependable as depth. He has 29 receptions for 350 yards and three touchdowns in 2017, a bridge year for the Broncos. So while I think he can be a nice little player for the team when they need him, I don’t think he solves their problems. Corey Coleman was the 15th overall pick in 2016 and has spent his unremarkable career in Cleveland. He has 56 receptions for 718 yards and 5 touchdowns in those two years. Granted, he’s had some injury problems, but that doesn’t exactly make me feel better. Based on his showing in Hard Knocks, Coleman is a non-competitive player who is more focused on his shoes than making plays and working his way up the depth chart. He asked Hue Jackson to either trade him or put him on the first team and when his wish was granted, the Bills promptly cut him when they realized he blew. The Bills. Let that sink in. Don’t expect that behavior to fly in New England. He’s got a third chance, but he won’t make much of it.
Neither of these players are earth-shattering additions. I hope that the search is still on for a legitimate receiver to add to this team. Because of that, I have compiled a short list of possible targets.
The biggest name still on the free agent market, Dez was released on April 13, 2018 by the Dallas Cowboys. Dez was showing some signs of decline, with a lot of drops, so I can understand why the Cowboys were ready to move on. It didn’t help that Dak overly relied on Dez. He is not the receiver he once was, but there’s a big reason I would love to take a flyer on him: Revenge. Dez wants to show everyone the Cowboys were wrong about him, and you cannot underestimate the power of that on the football field.
It really doesn’t seem like the Patriots have any interest whatsoever in signing him, which is disappointing, but rather on brand. He has an ego the size of Texas and the Patriots will not want to pay him superstar money. If he’s too proud to take less money for a prove it year, this signing will not happen. Bill was once more tolerant of diva behavior, but in recent years Bill has shown an increasing distaste of behavior like that, trading away Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins, letting Malcolm Butler go (whatever all that drama was about), and attempting to trade Gronkowski away. Bill has always been particular about who plays for him, and that has only grown in the past few years.
Not a free agent, but he’s on the Lions and that team is going nowhere fast. Under a new coach in Matt Patricia, who seems to have lost the locker room already, the team may be in need of a full rebuild, so perhaps they will be sellers this season. I don’t think anyone can deny his talent. He’s had two straight seasons 1,000+ yards and 90+ receptions seasons, and it would be four if it wasn’t for a relatively underwhelming 2015 season (813 yards on 90 receptions). Tate is a legit wide receiver threat. At 30 years old, he’s getting up there in years, another reason why the Lions shouldn’t want him for the long term, and it’s a contract year for him. Perfect time to move.
I doubt the Patriots will give up anything of value for Tate, however, as I can’t imagine they will want to pay him big money for what I assume will be his final contract. That being said, don’t be surprised if you see Tate move this season when the Lions start racking up the losses. I’d be interested in taking a flyer on him if the opportunity arises and a good deal can be made with Bob Quinn, the current GM of the Lions and former Director of pro-scouting for the Patriots.
It’s entirely possible that Perriman will have been signed by the Eagles by the time this is posted as he is being worked out by them this week. That being said, if he isn’t signed, he may be worth a look. Following the recent trend of the Patriots signing former first round picks that didn’t pan out, Perriman was the 26th overall pick in 2015 and has been on the Ravens for the past two years. In 2016 he had 499 yards on 33 receptions (66 targets, though, for a 50% reception rate) and three touchdowns in 16 games (1 started). 2017 was a much rougher season for him, with 77 yards on 10/35 receptions (28.57% rate).
His career has been incredibly underwhelming based on what expectations were going in, but he’s still young and perhaps could be an excellent reclamation project. He is a physically gifted athlete with lots of speed. In fact, he’s a lot like Cordarelle Patterson, who the Patriots acquired this past offseason, making it unlikely they will go after Perriman. But the thought of developing a stud out of the corpse of a Ravens first round pick warms my cold, dead heart.
Let’s be real, Michael Floyd is not a great player nor is he a great person, so this won’t happen, but he’s at least somewhat familiar with the Patriots scheme and laid out one of my favorite blocks ever in the 2017 season for the Patriots against the Dolphins. If depth becomes a real issue, it could be worth a look, but there are better options out there and players that don’t come with all sorts of baggage.
OBJ’s Kicking Net
My sleeper pick, honestly. Net has worked closely with OBJ, undoubtedly picking up some skills. In fact, Net even beat OBJ. If the Patriots sign Kicking Net, they become prohibitive favorites to win it all.
I just need someone to come to the Patriots and make me stop feeling this badly about our wide receiver corps. I haven’t felt this badly since 2006 and the likes of Reche Caldwell, a 35 year old Troy Brown, Doug Gabriel, and Chad Jackson.