Top Free-Agent WR Would Be ‘Shocking’ Patriots Signing: Report

Getty Kenny Golladay

With the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers placing the franchise tag on Allen Robinson and Chris Godwin, respectively, many view the Detroit Lions’ Kenny Golladay as the top free-agent wide receiver on the market after the team’s new regime elected not to franchise tag him at Tuesday’s deadline.

Because WR is arguably the New England Patriots‘ biggest need, and Bill Belichick and Co. will have $68 million in cap space with the NFL finalizing the numbers on Wednesday, it’s only natural Golladay’s name would come up as a potential fit in Foxborough.

However, NBC Sports Boston’s Albert Breer goes as far as to say he’d be “shocked” if the Patriots signed Golladay. Here is a recent video Breer recorded and NBC Sports Boston posted on Twitter:

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An On-Field Fit, But a Cultural Disconnection?

While the 27-year-old from Chicago, Illinois would seemingly fit the bill of a No. 1 receiver, something the Patriots desperately need, he most recently played for the Lions, who have one of those unfortunate Patriots connections. Detroit just ended nearly three years of suffering under Matt Patricia; another former Belichick coordinator turned failed head coach.

In nearly three seasons as the Lions’ head coach, Patricia and Detroit compiled a 13-22-1 record and never made the playoffs. Detroit fired Patricia and another former Patriots employee, general manager Bob Quinn before the end of the year.

It appears Golladay was pleased to see the Lions can Patricia and Quinn. When the NFL posted the news of Patricia and Quinn’s termination, Golladay liked the post on Instagram (h/t Detroit Free Press).

Golladay is still projected to have some serious tread on his tires, but perhaps an ax to grind with Patricia–whom the Patriots hired as a special assistant to Belichick after the Lions fired him this past season. Is it possible this connection and the potential similarities between the Patriots’ culture and Detroit’s futility influenced Matthew Stafford’s decision to list New England as a team he didn’t want to be traded to this offseason? It’s not a crazy thought.

When you consider Golladay’s obvious issues with Patricia, the latter’s position on the Patriots’ staff (no matter how hands-off), and the potential connection between New England and the former’s time in Detroit, it would be surprising to see a free-agent match.

Golladay Could Be Prime for a Huge 2021

Golladay did break out as a top-notch receiver during his time in Detroit. The 6’4″ 214-pounder out of Northern Illinois averaged 67.5 receptions, 1,126 yards, and 8 TDs from 2018-19 before missing 11 games in 2020 with injuries.

If he’s healthy and in a position to succeed with his next team, Golladay could explode in 2021. Expect teams like the Green Bay Packers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, and others to explore signing Golladay to bolster their passing games. Meanwhile, the Patriots may have to turn their attention toward guys whose experiences haven’t been tainted by a secondary version of the Patriot Way.

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