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A Likely Fit in New England?
Patrick isn’t exactly a burner.
He ran a respectable 4.47 40-yard dash at his pro day back in 2017 when he came out of Utah. However, at 6’4 and weighing close to 220 pounds, he provides a large target for a quarterback.
He’s also proven to be a strong YAC receiver who knows how to get in and out of his breaks and gets open consistently–even against elite corners. Perhaps that’s why CLNS’ Evan Lazar sees him as a potential fit for the Patriots in free agency.
Back in Week 6, Patrick hurt the Patriots with four receptions for 101 yards. It’s one of three times this year he has eclipsed the 100-yard mark. The Broncos won this game that was massively disrupted by COVID-19 problems, but we all know how Bill Belichick tends to remember opposing players who gave him fits in the past.
Like Lazar, I can see Patrick galloping across the field in a Patriots uniform, but what are the chances?
What Would it Cost to Acquire Patrick?
Patrick is set to be a restricted free agent, and per Patriots cap expert, Miguel Bezan, the tender for a second-rounder like Patrick should be $3.3 million. However, the Patriots would have to offer Patrick an even larger contract that discourages the Broncos from matching, but also doesn’t overpay for the 27-year-old.
The Patriots have plenty of cap space, and they figure to have even more after the season as there is a chance the team sees multiple players retire, and that’s not to mention the money that could–and likely will–be freed up after trades, and unsigned free agents.
Because of this, if the Patriots really like Patrick, and he fancies playing in New England, he definitely appears to be the kind of guy the team could sign without much issue.
Not Exactly a No. 1 Option
While Patrick has a nice frame and has shown off some solid skills with the Broncos, he doesn’t appear to be a No. 1 receiver. That’s fine, so long as the team busies itself trying to find a guy who can fill that void.
The Patriots have to add at least three real weapons in the passing game for next season if they want to have a prayer of being a more balanced team in 2021 than they have been in 2020. That will be the case no matter who the quarterback is next year.
Patrick is an interesting option, but he should be only the start of the retool at receiver, and not the crown jewel of an offseason that should be largely dedicated to adding weapons for the passing game.
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