The Patriots need to address the wide receiver spot regardless if Tom Brady re-signs with the Patriots or not, and Belichick will need to be smart about how he spends his money
We could debate all day about what the Patriots biggest needs are when free agency starts on March 18, and as we get closer to the NFL Draft, I think we can all agree that Bill Belichick needs to address the wide receiver position.
“In order to return to the top of the NFL mountain, the (Patriots) will therefore have to turn the page and build a competitive roster to get back into a position again to compete for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. A big part of building that roster is successfully maneuvering through free agency.” - Bernd Buchmasser, Pats Pulpit
Belichick should be busy over the next few days. The new league year and free agency officially kick off on March 18, and the Patriots still have a lot of work to do. Of course, Tom Brady’s contract is still weighing on the minds of New England’s top brass, they also need to address a whole lot of other things. Belichick will have to look at its current roster and their own upcoming free agents and will need to make some tough decisions. With a tight salary cap, no quarterback, and the possibility of losing a draft pick because of Spygate 2.0, Belichick is going to have a lot of tough decisions to make.
The Patriots currently have: Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Mohamed Sanu, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, Quincy Adeboyejo, and Devin Ross under contract. Phillip Dorsett and Matthew Slater are both unrestricted free agents.
Slater of course would not be signed as receiver, he would be brought in strictly for his work on Special Teams. I also think that we can all agree that Dorsett will probably not be returning to the Patriots. So who else could the Patriots target to improve their receiving core? Buchmasser gives us a comprehensive list.
“Robby Anderson, New York Jets (UFA): Anderson may not be one of the league’s elite wide receivers, but he is a serious deep threat that is capable of challenging all levels of a defense due to his tremendous speed. While he has the length to work as a number one outside target at 6-foot-3, his slender 190-pound frame suggests that the 26-year-old might be better suited as a rotational Z-receiver.”
“Breshad Perriman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (UFA): A former first-round pick that failed to live up to his draft status in Baltimore, Washington and Cleveland, Perriman had the best season of his four-year career as a member of the Buccaneers in 2019: he caught 36 passes for 645 yards and six touchdowns — all new career-highs — and showed that he might still have something to offer as a perimeter receiver in the NFL.”
“Emmanuel Sanders, San Francisco 49ers (UFA): Sanders is a savvy veteran that could help not just the development of young Patriots receivers like N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers but also the offense as a whole from day one. After all, the soon-to-be 33-year-old is still a premier route runner and capable of winning one-on-one matchups against press-man coverage by using his experience and short-area quickness to create leverage.”
Buchmasser also listed: AJ Green, Amari Cooper, Travis Benjamin, Tajae Sharpe, and Laquon treadwell. All of these receivers could make a huge impact to the Patriots receiving corps. The Patriots are going to have to be thrifty with the amount of money that they have to spend, but a veteran like Emmanuel Sanders could be a cheaper high value player for the Patriots.
The Patriots need to address the wide receiver spot regardless if Tom Brady re-signs with the Patriots or not, and Belichick will need to be smart about how he spends his money so he can make sure to address the team’s other needs as well.