Sports

Darrius Heyward-Bey, Kevin Walter or Braylon Edwards to Patriots?

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It’s been somewhat of a difficult offseason for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. First Tom Brady takes what is widely being hailed, albeit erroneously, as a pay cut so the Patriots could not only keep his favorite target Wes Welker, and maybe add some pieces through free agency. Weeks later the Patriots lose Wes Welker to the Denver Broncos in free agency. Less than a week after that they release Brandon Lloyd. They’ve replaced them, to this point, with Danny Amendola and Donald Jones.

Bill Belichick has somewhat of a carte blanche with the Patriots fan base, but surely they want the Patriots to make a move at receiver. For good reason too. Amendola is a great receiver, but he is no Wes Welker. Even more worrisome are the concerns about his durability. In his last two seasons with the Rams Amendola has only played 12 games. Donald Jones, is, well, Donald Jones. In his 3 NFL seasons Jones has never had more than his 443 yards that came last season. He does his best work in the slot, and should Amendola get hurt he will be a more than capable replacement.

These additions however don’t address the Patriots need for a deep threat on the outside. Even the rumoured offer sheet to Steelers RFA Emmanuel Sanders wouldn’t help in this regard, and there are also serious concerns about his durability. It could be the only thing that’s held him back to this point in his career.

The receiver talent pool has become rather shallow to this point, and ironically enough the best available receiver is probably the one they just released, Brandon Lloyd. That’s not to say there aren’t other good options to be had.

The best of these options, and one that I feel the Patriots should pursue, is the only receiver to post a faster 40 time than Mike Wallace in their draft class. That receiver, is Darrius Heyward-Bey. He may not have any other skills as a receiver other than speed, but that should be enough to work with Tom Brady. Another receiver that might work in New England would be Kevin Walter. He is a good route runner, and about as reliable as they come. Not flashy, but he can certainly get the job done. The Patriots generally do well with reclamation projects, and it might be worth it to take a flyer on Braylon Edwards.

These are just some of the many options the Patriots have. They could also address this need through the draft, but it will be difficult to find a dynamic receiver that will produce accordingly in his first year with the 29th overall pick. Maybe they get creative and trade up, but who knows. Nothing would surprise me with this team. Whatever the case they have to do something, and preferably soon. Tom Brady didn’t take that “pay cut” for nothing. With the Dolphins stockpiling receivers like it’s going out of style, maybe it’s time the Patriots engaged in this inter division arms race.

You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV