It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the New England Patriots are in desperate need of a game-changing wide receiver. When we look at the Patriots Wildcard loss to the Tennessee Titans, it was really a microcosm of their entire 2019 season. Tom Brady was consistently under pressure,and his wide receivers struggled to create separation. So heading into the 2020 off-season, the Patriots have to make two moves: One, re-sign Tom Brady or find an adequate replacement. Two, find a new wide receiver that allows the Patriots quarterback to move the ball through the air.
One name that has been tied to the Patriots going back to last year's trade deadline was AJ Green. Rumors came out a couple weeks ago that the two biggest names floating around Gillette stadium was Green and the Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry. Unfortunately for the Patriots it's been reported that Cincinnati Bengals plan on using the franchise tag on AJ Green, and the Chargers will be using the franchise tag with Henry. That leaves the Patriots moving on to plan B. Fortunately for the Patriots there are a lot of options at the wide receiver position in NFL free agency and the 2020 NFL draft.
As Patriot fans it may have been a little ridiculous for us to believe that AJ Green would be able to sign with the Patriots. It makes perfect sense at The Bengals do what they can to retain Green's services. AJ Green missed the 2019 season, but he's still one of the best wide receivers in the National Football League. Assuming that he'll be healthy in the 2020 season, having a guy like AJ Green on the field to help out rookie quarterback Joe Burrow, assuming that the Bengals don't lose their mind at the draft, will be very beneficial to making the bangles instantly competitive and with the development of Burrow in his rookie season. The wide receiver tag for 2019 is expected to be $18.5 million, so there's absolutely zero surprise that the Bengals would make this move.
The Patriots veteran receivers heading into the 2020 season are: Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu. Both underwent surgery in this offseason, and there's still some question marks whether Sanu will ever be able to fully acclimatize himself to the Patriots offense. Julian Edelman his aging and played through a ton of injuries last season, and that leaves the Patriots with only N'keal Harry and Jacoby Meyers to carry the weight of the Patriots offense after Edelman and Sanu. So the Patriots will have to look elsewhere outside of AJ Green to improving the wide receiver position
With AJ Green off the market, and Amri Cooper more than likely being out of the Patriots price range, I believe that New England will spend their attention finding a new tight end to play in front of Matt Lacosse and Ryan Izzo. Options at the tight end spot could be Austin Hooper or Tyler Eifert. Then the Patriots can draft one of the wide receivers out of this year's draft who will probably be NFL ready this season.
There's still some solid wide receivers left in free agency, though they aren't at the same pedigree as Green and Cooper, they're still reliable and could at the very least create some competition at camp. I know I said this a lot, but I have to reinforce the point that receiver was not the most important position for Bill Belichick to address during free agency. Once the tight end situation in New England is sorted it out, receivers can then fall into place
I'm also hopeful that Myers and Harry take the next step in 2020 and become legitimate threats for Tom Brady. While Edelman, Sanu, Harry, and Meyers play the short side of the field, Bill Belichick needs to find the home run hitter that is able to stretch the defense and give Tom Brady or whoever is the quarterback of the Patriots in 2020 a legitimate deep threat. At the very least draft a guy that can spread out the defense and allow the other Patriots offensive weapons to create the separation they weren't able to get in 2019.