Wednesday, February 27, 2013
The Pats' new WR targets
By Tim Kavanagh
Following the report that the New England Patriots and QB Tom Brady had reached a new contract extension, many wondered about the notion that he took an undervalued deal. One of the primary impacts of Brady taking less money is that the Pats now have a sizable chunk of additional cap space that they can use to surround him with other talented players. This is especially important for 2013, as they only have five draft picks (their own in the first, second, third and seventh rounds, plus Tampa Bay's seventh-rounder) to invest on rookies.
There is some belief that the Pats will use some of that cap space on reaching a deal with impending free agent WR Wes Welker. Beyond Welker, there is some also some buzz that the team will move on from Brandon Lloyd, and target a replacement at outside WR, potentially Dwayne Bowe or Mike Wallace. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes, Wallace has earned the praise of Bill Belichick in the past, and it's not expected that the Steelers will make much of an effect to re-sign him (they're in a humongous salary cap mess of their own making again this offseason).
Bowe's situation is more tricky, as a new coaching staff and GM are figuring out how they value the LSU product. But as it turns out, Wallace may be a better fit anyways, as Football Scientist KC Joyner writes:
KC JoynerImpact signings for New England
"About a year and a half ago, there was a strong case to be made that Wallace was every bit as good of a wide receiver as Calvin Johnson. The subsequent combination of Johnson's improvement and Wallace's regression mean that is no longer the case, but the truth is that a lot of Wallace's decline is circumstantial in nature and a change in scenery could go a long way toward getting him back to a near-Megatron level. Particularly if he were to join Brady and the Patriots. While Welker is a very skilled receiver, it's easier to find an alternative for his under-coverage, short routes than to find a vertical, field-stretching threat like Wallace. That makes Welker more expendable. New England would have to win a bidding war to get Wallace, since the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns are both rumored to be strongly considering pursuing Wallace in free agency, but his potential impact on this offense could make him worth every penny."