It has been an interesting offseason for Patriots fans so far, as far as free agency goes. In this post I will look at the offensive moves.
First, we had the news that New England had not retained the services of diminutive slot receiver Wes Welker. While this is something I called for , it is with a tinge of sadness that we say goodbye to Brady’s favourite weapon and wish him well as a Denver Bronco, though not too well.
Unsurprisingly this news was followed up by the announcement that the Patriots had replaced Welker with Danny Amendola of the St Louis Rams. Amendola is seen as a more fragile, younger facsimile of Welker. This move is another I had urged the Pats to get done, partly because I like Amendola as a fit for New England but also in the hope that Julian Edelman would see more playing time.
There is little news thus far as to whether Edelman will be offered a new contract by the Pats, but they say no news is good news, so here’s hoping.
Further changes to the wide receiving unit came about with the news that Brandon Lloyd has been released. Lloyd wasn’t a disaster in New England, but I feel the management probably felt they could replace him more cheaply. Replace him they must though as the WR chart feels a little thin, even with the arrival of Donald Jones from the Buffalo Bills.
Jones is relatively young at 25, compared to Lloyd’s 31, but is less of an outside threat. Jones has potential but Deion Branch isn’t getting any younger. At this rate it seems the Pats may hope to run a lot of three tight end sets with Gronk, Hernandez and Jake Ballard providing the mis-matches with linebackers, but an outside threat is required.
Emmanuel Sanders has been brought in from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a chat, but New England would have to give up a third round pick for him, as well as offering a wage the Steelers were unwilling to match. This year there seem to be a decent amount of mid-level receivers in the draft so this route is not one I would go down. If the Patriots don’t get Tavon Austin in the first round, and more likely trade back, maybe for a second and fourth or fifth round pick, they could possibly get Texas A&M’s Ryan Swope or Virginia Tech’s Steadman Bailey, teammate of Tavon Austin. Admittedly all three of those guys are probably slot guys, but the 6ft Swope could possibly play on the outside, as could Aaron Hernandez.
Receiver is not the only area undergoing changes on the offensive side of the ball, with the O-line and running backs seeing some change. Guard Donald Thomas has left New England to join the Colts and will be missed. The futures of guard Logan Mankins and tackle Sebastian Vollmer are uncertain, so New England needs to bring in fresh blood in the offensive line, as well as re-signing Mankins and Vollmer, or at the very least, just Vollmer.
Veteran Seahawks running back and kick returner Leon Washington has been brought in, allowing Danny Woodhead to leave for the Chargers. While I am sure Washington will add something at KR, allowing Devin McCourty some time off the field, I’d have liked to have seen Woodhead stay.
The next post will focus on the defensive side of the ball. Be sure to let me know what you think below.