The Super Bowl Champion made a huge move earlier by acquiring veteran DE Michael Bennett in a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots obviously had a connection there with his brother Martellus Bennett formerly on the team. The move also signifies that New England will be very likely to let the talented DE Trey Flowers walk in free agency; as they already elected to not place the franchise tag him.
Now the New England addressed one need, but the next major need will be adding wide receiver depth. This seems to be the same narrative going into every free agency for the Patriots; trying to find that next playmaker for Tom Brady to feel comfortable throwing too. This upcoming free agency the Patriots will have three notable free agents at WR including; Chris Hogan, Cordarelle Patterson, Phillip Dorsett. It’s unclear at the moment whether or not they would re-sign any of them. but either way the only WR’s currently on their roster is Julian Edelman and 6th round rookie Braxton Berrios who spent last season on IR.
No matter what happens there is one thing for sure; the Patriots are in almost a desperate need of add receiver depth. It for sure does not help that Josh Gordon ended up getting suspended indefinitely, and they also are limited at TE with the recent decrease in usage of Rob Gronkowski in the passing game and they just recently release their second-string TE Dwayne Allen.
Here are five realistic free agent options the Patriots should target in this upcoming free agency. Each receiver is a notable free agent, and each fits the Patriots offensive system and build they look for at the position. This does not include players they could acquire via trade because that’s definitely not something we should put past them.
Golden Tate still has a ton to offer at 31 years old despite the fact that he’s had a recent drop-off in production over the past two seasons with Detroit and Philadelphia. Between already winning a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks and the past few disappointing seasons he’s experienced in Detroit; it’s pretty obvious Tate is going to chase another ring. Tate would fit perfectly in this offense, he would be a nightmare to cover with Brady he could could easily potentially receive 80-90 passes. Also, he has already clearly demonstrated his admiration towards the Pats organization:
“That organization, they have proven to be champions year-in and year-out. They work hard for sure, but you know where you’re going to be at the end of the season: you’re going to be not only looking at the playoffs, but you’re looking at maybe a first-round bye with this team. You gotta admire that organization, they do things right, they’ve been doing it for a long, long, long time.”
This one seems to be pretty obvious due to Humphries extremely comparable built with Super MVP Julian Edelman since they are the same exact height and size. Adam Humphries, at just 25 years old is arguably one of the most underrated free agents on the market. He’s drastically improved his entire game in each of the past four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He increased his total receptions per season (27, 55, 61, 76), and this past season with two different QB’s in Tampa Bay he had 76 receptions for 816 yards and 5 TD. Humphries would be an excellent replacement for their free agent Chris Hogan.
Randall Cobb is a very-intriguing free agent, because he offers the household name; but what he does not offer is the consistent durability to stay on the field. When Cobb is healthy; there’s no question whether or not he possesses the attributes of a starting WR because he absolutely does. A Pro Bowler in 2014, but unfortunately he’s been dealing with nagging injuries his entire career. He was limited to just 38 catches for 383 yards and two touchdowns in 2018. Although, for the right value Cobb still potential has a lot to offer for at least the next 2-3 years, and the Patriots reportedly offered Green Bay a trade last season for Cobb so we shall see.
Jamison Crowder potentially maybe the most dynamic and impactful addition among this group. He has spent the past four seasons with Washington and recorded 221 catches, 2628 yards, 14 touchdowns. Crowder is an extremely tough and talented route-runner who excels in the slot; which would be exactly what New England is looking for. The issue here is Crowder’s value is around $8-10M reportedly, but there is no doubt Crowder’s versatility in the slot would be dominate with Tom Brady if he remains healthy.
Cole Beasley has been an incredible slot-receiver for the Dallas Cowboys over the past seven seasons after going undrafted out of SMU. Beasley absolutely fits the narrative of Patriots receivers; they love adding players with a chip on their shoulder. Adding another former undrafted slot receiver looking to seek more opportunities in a new-offense system definitely seems like a move they would consider. Bill Belichick loves quick receivers who can find a way to always get open, and that’s exactly what Beasley did in Dallas; especially on third downs with Dak Prescott. Also, Beasley may come with a discount compared to the other receivers because he is about to turn 30 years-old.