New England Patriots Rumors: Robby Anderson trade makes no sense

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson (11) Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The New England Patriots offseason rumors are beginning to heat up. With draft buzz getting stirred up at the NFL Combine, and the franchise tag deadline drawing near, the offseason has officially gotten underway.

The Patriots have been right in the thick of most of the news so far, which isn’t much of a surprise. Despite keeping a relatively low profile at the Combine, many prospects have mentioned their meetings with the Patriots at one point or another. It’s been enlightening to see which players the front office may be interested, giving us out first peak behind the curtain at what their draft strategy may be.

A lot of the offseason gossip involing New England has centered around wide receivers so far. It’s clear they have a need for more talent at the position, and there has been tons of chatter about who could potentially help fill the void. It became clear pretty quick the Pats staffers at the Combine did their best to meet with every wide receiver they could, which really isn’t too surprising in the grand scheme of things.

With free agency and the draft drawing most of the attention right now, one avenue for acquiring a star wideout that hasn’t really been discussed is the trade market. We already took a look at three receivers who may be available on the trade market that would help the team. Recently, the New England Patriots have been linked to a trade for Carolina Panthers speedster Robby Anderson, but a move for him just wouldn’t make any sort of sense for the Pats.

New England Patriots are not the right fit for Robby Anderson

Anderson has made a name for himself throughout his career for being a speed demon. The man can straight up fly, and he has shown such abilities on the field. He has at least one catch of 50+ yards through each of his first six seasons, and most of those grabs involve him catching the ball and bursting upfield past the defense.

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Anderson had a breakout campaign in 2020, which was his first season with the Panthers after spending his first four with the New York Jets. Anderson caught 96 passes for 1096 yards and three touchdowns that season despite catching passes from Teddy Bridgewater, who was mediocre at best. With D.J. Moore having a similar season, it seemed like the Panthers were set at wide receiver with a solid duo.

2021 proved that wasn’t the case. While Moore continued to prove his excellence, Anderson labored through the worst season of his career. His numbers (53 REC, 519 YDS, 5 TD) took a steep drop from his standout 2020 campaign, and he struggled to get himself involved in most games. It was a huge step back after Anderson looked like he finally figured things out in his first season with Carolina.

It’s not extremely surprising to see Carolina is looking to get rid of Anderson considering he can get out of his deal after next season. Plus, the Panthers would save over $9 million in cap space by trading him off their books. But for the Patriots to be one of the teams jockeying for his services…that just doesn’t make sense.

When he’s operating at his best, Anderson is a very dangerous player. He has a unique build (6’3, 190 lbs) that allows him to lineup all over the field and take advantage of the different matchups thrown his way. The problem is Anderson has become very reliant on getting open for deep passes (and catching them) and last season, he didn’t do that and his production suffered.

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Anderson is a deep threat, which is nice in concept, but with Mac Jones under center, he would really serve no purpose in the offense. They were supposed to get their deep threat in free agency with Nelson Agholor last offseason, and Agholor did next to nothing during his first season in New England. There’s no reason to bring on Anderson unless Agholor is going the other way, and even then that may not be a favorable deal.

Jones relies heavily on his trademark accuracy and quick decision making to move the chains on offense. He can air it out from time to time, but this isn’t going to become a Kansas City Chiefs style offense where he throws 50 yard nukes every other play. The New England Patriots need a shifty slot receiver who can create seperation against any coverage and get open when Jones needs him the most.

Throughout his career, Anderson hasn’t done anything to show he’s that guy. He’s relied on deep and intermediate routes to get pretty much all of his yardage, and with a passer in Jones who isn’t an experienced deep ball thrower, there wouldn’t be much of a reason to expect Anderson to succeed in New England. If anything, he’s more likely to become the 2022 version of Agholor.

If things went right though, Anderson could technically fit in New England’s offense. He’s a shifty route runner out of the slot, although his ability to get open on short routes isn’t exactly great, which is what would be needed from him. If they really wanted slot help, it would make much more sense to pursue a guy like Jarvis Landry, who operates almost exclusively out of the slot.

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There are going to be tons of different options at wide receiver this offseason, but Anderson should not be the answer at the position. His playstyle just isn’t a fit with a Mac Jones-led offense, which isn’t what this team needs. The New England Patriots need to make things easier for Jones under center, and unfortunately, trading for Anderson would accomplish nothing.