The immediate feeling around the NFL was that Julian Edelman will recover from his thumb injury in time to be healthy for the preseason. However, it now seems like this is not the case. On the bright side, there are a few options at the Wide Receiver position available.
Let’s take a look at five of them right now.
Although he had what most would consider to be a down season last year and has played for three teams in the past two years (all three sent him packing), Kelvin Benjamin is still a solid option at the Wide Receiver position. Tom Brady would have a field day with a guy of his stature. His size creates the opportunity for for him to be used as a Receiver or a hybrid Tight End. Perhaps some time in New England would repair Benjamin’s “lazy” reputation.
Although he is one of the older options available, Mike Wallace can still put up great numbers when healthy. He is just two years removed from a 72 catch season with the Baltimore Ravens. In fact, Wallace has had only two seasons in which he amassed less than 50 receptions. Wallace and Edelman are also about the same size, so perhaps the Patriots could also use him in a similar role.
Terrance Williams is a Wide Receiver that showed some promise while he was with the Dallas Cowboys until last season when he was derailed by a foot injury and a suspension for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. The Patriots wouldn’t lose much by simply inviting him in for a tryout. Williams can easily give a team 50-60 receptions a season, and Edelman is essentially the only pass catcher on the Patriots that can be relied upon for numbers like this. The bottom line is, Tom Brady needs a reliable pass target and Williams is the most cost efficient option available.
If the Patriots are looking for a big play Wide Receiver, Michael Crabtree is the best man for the job. Crabtree is only 31 so he has a few more good years left in him. He might even be the team’s number one receiver once Edelman is healthy. The addition of Crabtree would soften the retirement of Rob Gronkowski (something we’ve already covered).
Before you guys bring up his disastrous 2015 season, let’s look at 2014. In 2014, Brandon LaFell established career highs in almost every category and won a Super Bowl with the Patriots. It’s also worth noting that he was hurt in 2015. A reunion would do nothing but good for both sides. The truth is LaFell knows the Patriots offense better than any player on this list and Brady will already trust him. With Edelman on the shelf no Wide Receiver on the roster will have had Tom Brady as their Quarterback. With that being said, bringing back a former Patriot that can still play makes sense. If he plays anything like 2014 or his two years with the Bengals, why not call him?