With free agency hitting full-stride this week, the New England Patriots will make their moves that their fans are always confident in, no matter how head-scratching they may be. Frankly, it is quite obvious where the Pats need to go in free agency and that is getting a talented playmaker for Tom Brady. Whether it is at the tight end or wide receiver position, Brady needs more than the likes of Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, and an injured Danny Amendola to get his offense into the end zone on a regular basis.
Julian Edelman is set to hit the open market, and that is something the Patriots can’t allow. He did his best Wes Welker impression last season, and Amendola is too unreliable to bank on playing 16 games (heck, even 11 games) at full strength. But even if they do resign Edelman, the Pats need size to make life easier for Brady in the red zone. There is only so much that the running game can do on its own.
Jason Avant has been linked to the Patriots since getting cut by the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday. Avant would be a good possession receiver, but doesn’t get into the end zone all that often. Whether that is a product of the schemes he has been in, or his ability, well, he’s been in the league for almost a decade now so you do the math.
Devin Hester and James Jones would be great speed options for the Pats. Hester would immediately boost the return game, and would give LeGarrette Blount a nice blow so he could try and replicate the end of last season. Jones would be a much better answer as a pure receiver. He would be a fantastic red zone threat for Brady, and I am sure Jones wouldn’t mind going to another all-world QB if the Green Bay Packers don’t retain him.
The most interesting candidate in my opinion is the enigma that is Kenny Britt. He was clearly unhappy during his tenure with the Tennessee Titans, and the Patriots love attitude/reclamation projects, a criteria Britt fits perfectly. I don’t think the Aaron Hernandez fiasco will slow the Pats in taking chances on troubled players, and if there is one they should consider this offseason, it’s Britt. At the very least, he will get into the end zone for Brady because he is one of the hardest wide receivers to bring down and can use his size and athleticism to nab a few jump balls. Either way, expect the Patriots to make a big upgrade with at least one notable receiver acquisition, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see them add two veteran wideouts this offseason.