Patriots Urged to Sign $72 Million Free Agent Bust WR

The Patriots have receivers, and they’re not terrible by NFL standards. They did decide to move on from Jakobi Meyers, their leading 2022 receiver with 67 catches and 804 yards, but added veteran Juju Schuster-Smith, who had similar stats (78 catches and 933 yards) for Kansas City in 2022.

Beyond him on the depth chart, there’s reliable veteran DeVante Parker, plus Kendrick Bourne, oft-injured Tyquan Thornton, along with rookies Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas.

But the unit was ranked—ahem—a paltry 29th in the NFL by Pro Football Focus ahead of 2023, so they’re certainly in need of help there.

And maybe there’s help available. According to Bleacher Report, one guy who could boost the Patriots’ passing attack immediately is veteran Kenny Golladay, the much-criticized receiver who was a butter-fingered bust in New York after the Giants gave him a $72 million free-agent contract in 2021.

Golladay has talent. But his time in New York was a mess. “Perhaps,” BR’s Alex Ballentine wondered, “Golladay can learn to do things The Patriot Way and revive his career in New England.”

Golladay Signed $72 Million Contract With Giants

That would be a long shot, but not impossible. Golladay, after all, was a star in Detroit, where he earned a Pro Bowl spot in 2019, racking up 1,190 yards receiving to go with a league-best 11 touchdowns. But hamstring and hip injuries limited him to five games in 2020, and the Lions let him walk that offseason.

He has not been the same since, frequently injured and unproductive. The Giants, eager to be rid of their mistake, benched him last year.

But he could be worth a flier for the Patriots.

“The 29-year-old theoretically could help a receiving corps, but it’s going to take a strong coaching staff and a team with a role in mind to tap into it. The 6-foot-4, 213-pound receiver has both size and speed, which happens to be what the New England Patriots could use,” Ballentine wrote.

“The Patriots have multiple receivers who are reliable underneath targets. But DeVante Parker has an injury history of his own, and Tyquan Thornton—who is beginning the year on IR— remains unproven as a field-stretching vertical receiver.”

Patriots’ WR Rankings Were Rough

There was some surprise that the Patriots’ receivers ranked so low in PFF’s assessment this week. There is a chance, after all, that this unit could be better than expected. Parker, who posted 1,202 yards with the Dolphins in 2019 but has had just 1,053 yards in the last two seasons in New England and Miami, could be due for a big year in the Patriots’ reconstructed offense.

Thornton, too, is a former second-round pick who could thrive once he can get back on the field. And there is ample excitement around rookies Boutte and Douglas.

Still, there are many unknowns there, and that’s why the assessment of the Patriots was not a kind one. “We need to take into account (tight ends) Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki, but overall, it’s just not a group that strikes much fear in the eyes of defensive coordinators.” PFF wrote in its rankings. “Only Parker and Smith-Schuster earned a 70.0-plus receiving grade in 2022.”

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