The New England Patriots were already extremely deep at the wide receiver position. But now, they’ve added incredible reinforcement to that unit with the signing of Antonio Brown.
Brown was released from the Raiders earlier Saturday and signed with the Patriots hours later. Now the Patriots have a little bit of tinkering to do at the receiver position to make room for Brown on the roster.
But until then, New England has some major firepower at wide receiver with a mix of rookies, injured players, and veteran targets. How does it all stack up with Brown in the mix?
Jules is still the Patriots top receiver and Brady’s number-one target. His ability to get open in the slot is unrivaled and it showed with his Super Bowl MVP in February.
Edelman often gets multiple catches a game because of his route-running prowess and his ability to withstand contact during and after the catch. Breaking tackles is another one of his specialties as the hard-working receiver constantly contests for more yards.
Brown will instantly be a big part of the Patriots offense but his chemistry with Brady will have to develop instantly. If he is to have a strong partnership with Brady, Brown will need to lose sight of his attitude and become a team-first guy.
He’s in a position to be a part of something truly special this season with Brady and the Patriots. Brown has had six-straight 1,000-yard and 100-catch seasons with a career-high 15 touchdown receptions last season. That was also with a top-caliber QB in Ben Roethlisberger. Now he’ll have Brady dropping dimes to him.
Flash will have a big part in the Patriots offense as well, but his reliability might fault him. He still catches over half of the balls thrown his way and is constantly drawing double coverage and physical defensive backs. Perhaps that changes now with Brown and Demaryius Thomas helping out, but Gordon will need to prove he can really in catches under pressure.
He has done so in the past, including at times last season. Now, he is doing so to keep his job and there’s no doubt his new outlook on life will improve his onfield presence.
Injured, released, and resigned. It has been a wild first couple months as a Patriot for Thomas but it appears he’s ready to contribute in a big way. And if his first game is any indication, Thomas still has a lot left in the tank.
Thomas reeled in two touchdowns and had 87 yards receiving in the preseason finale against the New York Giants. He and Tom Brady were consistently seen together on the sidelines during the preseason and their relationship as veterans make their future partnership exciting.
Dorsett set a career-high in catch percentage last season reeling in over 70 percent of the balls thrown his way. He’s seldom used but a reliable target for Brady in certain situations. Dorsett’s best asset is his ability to run a corner route shone through prominently last year.
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One of the likely candidates to be cut loose by the Patriots now is rookie Gunner Olszewski. He was cut then brought back during the final cutdown period but now could be off the roster given the amount of depth New England has. It’s unfortunate, but hopefully, the Patriots could land him on the practice squad.
Another cut candidate is Jakobi Meyers. He had an impressive preseason but when he played in a game with Brady he was unable to make a dazzling impact like he did on the practice field. Meyers is promising and he could also land on the practice squad if cut.
This now creates quite the controversy for the Patriots when first-round pick N’Keal Harry makes it back onto the field. The rookie is expected to be activated from IR after Week 6 but his presence on the roster would also require an additional cut.
And let’s not forget Cameron Meredith. He was signed early in training camp and has been on the PUP list ever since. It may be unlikely he ever sees the field this season but if he’s ready to go it creates a surplus of outside receivers on the roster.