Patriots Tabbed a ‘Best Fit’ to Sign Recently Cut $60 Million WR

Patriots potential WR target Mike Williams

Getty Patriots potential WR target Mike Williams

After figuring out the quarterback position, the biggest question remaining for the Patriots is at wide receiver, where we’ve seen any number of options put forth, but none that have resulted in an actual acquisition. The Patriots missed on top target Calvin Ridley, who opted for Tennessee, and passe don a trade for Keenan Allen, who was dealt instead to the Bears for a fourth-rounder.

The Patriots will need some long-term answers at receiver in the NFL draft. But they’ll need at least one short-term answer here in March, even if it is just to give a moribund receivers room some new juice. One such player who could be worth a low-risk gamble: Mike Williams of the Chargers, who has two 1,000-yard receiving seasons to his credit.

That’s the line from Bleacher Report, which tabs the Patriots as a “best fit” for Williams, even though he’ll be 30 and is coming off a knee injury that limited him to three games last year.

“Mike Williams is recovering from a torn left ACL, yet he’s arguably the best wideout who remains available in free agency. The Los Angeles Chargers released the veteran before his age-30 campaign because of a cap crunch, but he’s still deserving of a substantial contract,” the site wrote.

Mike Williams Tore ACL at Terrible Time

The Patriots make some sense, as long as the financial commitment is right. They do not need to add a long-term solution to their receiver shortage, they just need a guy who can have an impact this year and provide a reliable threat on the outside.

If Williams wants to reset his career, New England would be an ideal place, where he would surely be the No. 1 option. B/R points out that the Cardinals and Colts could be options, too. But the Patriots have money and opportunity.

“The New England Patriots have a thin receiving corps and a mountain of cap space,” the site noted.

Williams caught 19 passes in three games last year, totaling 249 yards and a touchdown. He had seven catches and 121 yards in Week 3, despite leaving the game in the third quarter with the ACL tear. If healthy, Williams has WR1 ability.

Williams was entering the second year of a three-year, $60 million contract extension signed in 2022.

Patriots Receiving Corps Remains Very Weak

Williams is not the ideal candidate to join a rebuilding bunch like the Patriots, but the team has stated its desire to be competitive again in 2024 after a dismal 4-13 season in 2023. A one-year deal for Williams would be low risk but would help reconfigure the receiving depth chart.

As it stands, the team’s top receiver is Kendrick Bourne, who is best suited to a No. 2 or 3 role on a good team. Bourne is also coming off a torn ACL.

Demario Douglas excelled as a rookie sixth-round pick last season, leading the team’s receiver corps with 561 yards receiving on 49 catches.

Veteran DeVante Parker is gone, but bust free-agent signee Juju Smith-Schuster is still on the books, as is another bust, former second-round pick Tyquan Thornton, who has just 35 catches in 22 games over two forgettable seasons.

Williams is not a perfect fit. But he is a good fit, and considering where the Patriots are, that should be enough.

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