Patriots: Five Free Agent WR Targets After Edelman Injury

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Jan 11, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola (80) celebrates with wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) after a touchdown during the first quarter of the 2013 AFC divisional playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

While they escaped with a narrow 27-26 victory over the New York Giants, the injury list continued to grow for the New England Patriots on Sunday. Already dealing with multiple injuries across the offensive line, missing defensive star Jamie Collins the last two weeks with an undisclosed illness and losing RB Dion Lewis for the season last week, the Patriots could not seemingly handle much more on the injury front.

Well, now they have to deal with the loss of star wide receiver Julian Edelman, who broke his foot in the first quarter against the Giants on Sunday. Edelman will go under for surgery on Monday, but many reports suggest that the Patriots are optimistic about his return later in the season.

Edelman is arguably the number one receiving target for Tom Brady in the Patriots’ offense, and his absence is certainly going to be felt. Fellow receiver Danny Amendola is a natural replacement for what Edelman does in the Patriots’ offense, but it is unfair to expect him to completely replace the production of Edelman.

Also, Amendola already has a fairly large role in the Patriots’ offense. Even if he is able to step up and replace Edelman, someone will have to replace Amendola’s former role in the offense.

Aaron Dobson played a larger role in the offense when Edelman went down, but excuse me for not believing in his ability to make a consistent impact at this point. Keshawn Martin has been dealing with a hamstring injury, but he will certainly be another option to take on a larger role in the offense now too.

Without Edelman, Amendola and Brandon LaFell are the obvious starters at the wide receiver position for the Patriots. Obviously, Rob Gronkowski plays a massive role in the offense, lining up as a receiver a ton, but as far as players who are considered actual wide receivers, Amendola and LaFell are the only consistent options.

Dobson and Martin will fill out the depth, and perhaps special teams ace Matthew Slater could carve out a role as well, but it is safe to say that the Patriots are not exactly loaded with options at wide receiver.

With the trade deadline behind us, free agency is the only way for New England to patch up this new-found hole in their roster. Obviously, there are not many exciting options out there, but there are a few guys who could step up and play a role in this offense, even if it is a minor one.

Here are five free agent wide receivers who the Patriots should consider bringing in.

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