With Eric Decker retiring, the New England Patriots have hit a bump in their offensive plans. Without him and the suspended Julian Edelman, here is how the WR Depth chart stands:
- Chris Hogan
- Phillip Dorsett
- Cordarrelle Patterson
- Devin Lucien
- Riley McCarron
- Braxton Berrios
- Paul Turner
- Matt Slater
Out of all eight of those players, only three have 10+ career receptions during their time in the NFL. This team needs another WR target, but who? Here are five possible targets that New England should target before week one begins.
#5. Dez Bryant, Free Agent
The biggest reason that Dez Bryant is so low on the list is because Coach Bill Belichick has already expressed that he was not being considered. He has been in the eye of sports media since getting released by the Dallas Cowboys. While he had a rumored contract on the table from the Cleveland Browns already, what could be bring to New England?
Bryant provides a solid deep threat option with some energy to compliment his athletic ability. Unfortunately, he has an excess of negative energy that Belichick doesn’t tolerate. Regardless, nothing is off the table yet for the Patriots, as they are desperate at the WR position.
#4: Brandon LaFell, Free Agent
Most recently with the Cincinnati Bengals, LaFell spent two years in a Patriots uniform (2014 and 2015) where he reeled in 111 receptions for 1,468 yards and 7 touchdowns. Although he struggled with injuries and drops in his final year in New England, LaFell could quite possibly be a solid pickup for the Patriots.
He may not be a popular candidate in New England, but LaFell is the best wide receiver on the open market that knows the Patriots system. He would likely be able to slide right in and shake some rust off before providing the offense with some much-needed depth.
#3: Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers
This is a trade that would benefit the Patriots offense, especially through the first four weeks of the season in Edelman’s absence. Randall Cobb is a top slot wide receiver who can run various routes extremely well. Unfortunately, if the Packers are smart, this would be a difficult trade to push through.
The Green Bay Packers have great wide receiver depth behind Cobb in Davante Adams, Equanimious St. Brown and J’Mon Moore among other young and rookie talent. In result, this makes Cobb expendable and a great trade candidate. Aaron Rodgers has been vocal about his frustration with the younger wide receivers’ lack of ability to run routes, so it will be difficult to pull Cobb off of that offense.
#2: Golden Tate, Detroit Lions
This is by far the most interesting of the players listed. Golden Tate has been a consistent receiver for the Detroit Lions, and it isn’t unrealistic for the New England Patriots to make a run for him. In training camp, second-year wideout Kenny Golladay has been taking snaps behind Marvin Jones and even ahead of Golden Tate. This could result in an eventual trade, and he could even be dealt at a discount price from former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as the new Lions head coach.
This is a great possibility, and it could give Brady the weapons he needs. Tate can provide what Edelman does and more with his deep route running ability.
#1: Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos
According to the rumor mill, there is alleged interest from the New England Patriots in Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Some say he would fit in nicely in the Josh McDaniels offensive scheme, but that was also said about Eric Decker. Thomas is only a year younger than Eric Decker, and has a larger cap hit. With Cortland Sutton continuing to develop, Thomas could be on the move before the start of the new season.
He brings a red zone threat element to New England with his 6’3, 236 lb frame. He is an intriguing option and seems to be the most realistic at this point.
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