Pro Bowl WR Mentioned as Free Agent Fit for Patriots

Alshon Jeffery Patriots

Getty Free agent WR Alshon Jeffery spent the last four seasons with the Eagles.

The New England Patriots didn’t trade for Julio Jones, but that doesn’t mean they’re not in the market to improve their wide receiver group.

With months still to go before the start of the 2021 season and more than a month before the beginning of training camp, New England could still add to their roster.

In a June 7 story on the team’s website, Mike Dussault of suggested former Pro Bowler, Super Bowl champion and Patriots menace, Alshon Jeffery, might be a fit. Jeffery helped the Philadelphia Eagles upset the Patriots in the 2018 Super Bowl, posting three receptions for 73 yards and a touchdown in Philly’s 41-33 win.

“Jeffery is coming off a down year in Philadelphia, but has the kind of size to help as an outside receiver,” Dussault wrote. “He’s 31 and wouldn’t take the top off of the defense, but his length and experience could provide a different kind of boost to the receiver corps.”

Standing at 6-foot-3, Jeffery has always been a big target capable of making tough catches down the field and in the red zone. It sounds a lot like what the Patriots hoped N’Keal Harry would become.

During his nine-year career, Jeffery has hauled in 475 passes for 6,786 yards and 46 touchdowns. At 31 years old, would he still be an asset to the Patriots’ passing game?

Where Would Jeffery Fit in With the Patriots?

If healthy, Jeffery would seemingly project as New England’s No. 1 receiver. He’s more accomplished than Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers. Also, Cam Newton, whom Bill Belichick confirmed as the team’s starting quarterback after the first round of April’s NFL draft, has enjoyed throwing to bigger targets like Jeffery throughout his NFL career.

Jeffery has some similarities in size and style to former Carolina Panthers standouts Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin. The former Chicago Bears and Eagles’ star would come to New England for a much cheaper price tag than the one Jones’ carried to the Tennessee Titans.

Signing Jeffery Wouldn’t Make Patriots’ Passing Game Any Scarier

As much as Patriots Nation would love to see the team add another weapon at receiver, questions remain as to whether Jeffery is the right guy. While he’s one year younger than Jones, his health is perhaps an even more significant concern.

Since the Eagles’ Super Bowl season, when Jeffery played in all 16 regular season games — something he’s only done twice in his career — his availability has decreased every year.

In 2018 he played in 13 games, then 10 in 2019, and he was down to just seven in 2020, starting only two of those contests. The trend isn’t positive, and it likely explains why he hasn’t been signed after the Eagles released him on March 17.

If the Patriots choose to pursue Jeffery, it’ll be on a budget deal where they are hoping to ink a veteran on a short-term, “prove it” contract designed to allow Jeffery to convince a team to sign him to another multi-year pact.

If that’s the case, the signing would be low-risk, but don’t expect it to make New England’s passing game much scarier.

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