Did you think the New England Patriots were done adding intriguing weapons? On Thursday, the team announced it had signed former New Orleans Saints WR and Texas Longhorns star Lil’Jordan Humphrey to a one-year deal.
Humphrey, 24, is 6-foot-4, 225 pounds and he would potentially give Mac Jones the biggest target he has amongst his receiving corps.
Humphrey played in 18 games with the Saints from 2019-2021. The Saints signed Humphrey as a rookie free agent in 2019, which is the same season the Patriots selected N’Keal Harry in the first round and signed Jakobi Meyers as an undrafted free agent.
In his NFL career, Humphrey has 16 receptions for 295 yards and three TDs. He played in two playoff games with the Saints where he has just one catch for 14 yards. Like many of the Patriots’ receivers, Humphrey spent a good deal of time on the practice and active squads. If given an opportunity, as he was in 2021 when Michael Thomas was down with injury, Humphrey has proven he has some ability.
Thirteen of his 16 receptions came that season when he got an opportunity to start four games. The Patriots are hoping they have found a diamond in the rough.
In college, Humphrey tore up the Big 12 with 86 receptions for 1,176 yards and 9 TDs as a junior. Humphrey entered himself in the 2019 NFL Draft, but he went unselected. A poor showing at the NFL Combine didn’t help Humphrey. He ran a tight-end-like 4.75 40-yard dash, which seemingly scared teams off.
Still, we’ve seen receivers find major success after horrendous runs of the 40-yard dash. Former Arizona Cardinals great Anquan Boldin is one of the more memorable cases. New England is likely hoping they have secured a player who will head on a similar trek.
The Patriots Have a Lot of WRs
With the signing of Humphrey, the Patriots have 10 wide receivers under contract, per CLNS’ Evan Lazar.
In reality, the Patriots actually have 11 when you count Matthew Slater, who is exclusively a special teamer, though his official position is WR. Bill Belichick will probably only keep six players from Lazar’s tweet.
DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers and Tyquan Thornton are likely locks to have a roster spot. That means Humphrey, Tre Nixon, Kristian Wilkerson, Malcolm Perry and disappointing veteran Nelson Agholor will be battling for one or two spots. Humphrey won’t have an athleticism advantage over most of the players on the Patriots’ roster. however, he does have a good amount of experience along with a track record of production from college and during brief stints in the NFL.
In Other Patriots News: Pierre Strong Jr. Signs 4-Year Deal
The Patriots also signed another of their draft picks. Powerfully built and versatile running back Pierre Strong inked a deal with the Patriots that is reportedly for four years and $4.373 million, per ESPN’s Field Yates:
Strong is the next running back with an opportunity to make a mark in the Patriots’ power running game. Strong’s presence might also make Damien Harris expendable. Keep an eye on a potential trade ahead of the 2022 season if Strong shows well in preseason and training camp.
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