Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The Patriots' WR targets
By Tim Kavanagh
On Monday, we pondered the possibility of the New England Patriots having a reunion with impending free agent WR Randy Moss in 2013. Moss will play in the Super Bowl this weekend, and has indicated that he wants to continue his career next season. The Pats lacked a player of Moss' ilk that could stretch the field, and so even in a smaller role, his impact would be greatly felt. But he may not be the only new face at the position being targeted by Bill Belichick and Co. this offseason.
Both Wes Welker and Julian Edelman are impending free agents, and though neither is a perfect player, they do fit in well with what the Pats do on offense. With that in mind, ESPNBoston.com scribe Mike Reiss writes that "rebuilding/restocking the receiver position figures to be a focus for the Patriots. More quality and depth is needed. From this viewpoint, it wouldn't be a surprise if they approach the receiver position the way they did the tight end spot in recent years, with a double-layered plan between free agency and the draft."
The decisions on Welker and Edelman will come first, and either one of them can be franchise-tagged, though it will be 20 percent more expensive for Welker because he was the taggee in 2012. Looking over the list of free agents at the position, there are some nice options if either or both of the Pats' FAs head elsewhere. While some believe Greg Jennings is on the decline at this stage of his career, players like Dwayne Bowe, Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline are headed the other direction, and catching passes from Tom Brady isn't exactly a bad thing. Another potential option -- and bear in mind that any of these other FAs could be tagged themselves -- is Danny Amendola, who has been compared to Welker, and could fill that role if No. 83 isn't back.
As for the draft, the Pats have just five picks this year -- their own in the first, second, third and seventh, as well as Tampa Bay's seventh -- after dealing their fourth-, fifth- and sixth-rounders away for Aqib Talib, Albert Haynesworth and Chad Johnson/Ochocinco, respectively. With that limited draft capital, the Pats may choose to address other positions, but if there's a player on the board that they like, they may take the plunge. Recently they've had some bad luck with WRs taken in the first three rounds, as Brandon Tate and Taylor Price both struggled.