The Patriots continue to be relentless against letting another weak Wide Receiving corp be part of this franchise's opening day roster.
With the losses of Jabar Gaffney to the Denver Broncos, and Kelley Washington to the Baltimore Ravens, the Patriots had some holes at the Wide Receiver position this offseason. With these offseason's acquisitions, we may actually see some fan favorite's not making the team. Not including Randy Moss and Wes Welker, here's how the WR's stack up.
Joey Galloway - After a poor season last year, the Patriots seemed to have got a steal in signing Galloway. After making 1.7 million with the Buccaneers last year, and a 1.2 million signing bonus on top of that, teams seemed to back away from dishing out money to him. However, Galloway didn't ask to increase his salary to sign with the Patriots, and got signed for 1.75 million with a 600K signing bonus.Putting up a mere 13 catches and 138 yards last season due to injuries may lead to questioning what he has left, but this player deserves a good chance. Even though he is turning 38 in November, Galloway still has blazing speed and can be used as a deep threat, an underneath route runner, and a decoy for Moss. Look for Galloway to have a very productive year this season.
Greg Lewis - After spending his first 6 seasons in the NFL, Lewis was traded to the Patriots in exchange for their 5th round draft pick. Lewis is in the last year of a 6 year, $5.885 million contract. Primarily a 3rd and 4th string receiver, Lewis will be shooting for WR 4 for the Patriots. Look for Lewis to also make an occasional impact on special teams. Greg Lewis is known for being the occasional deep threat, and for his great hands, with only one fumble in his NFL career.
Brandon Tate - The other prime candidate for the WR 4 spot, Tate hasn't been able to fully practice with the Patriots yet. Rumor has it that will most likely wind up on the PUP list to begin the season. Drafted for his ability and not his numbers, Tate doesn't have a lot behind him stat-wise to show fans he deserves a chance. However, Tate has an outstanding football IQ, and has great instincts for the ball. The ability to run routes, beat defenders, and catch-and-run, on top of being able to rush the ball (103 rushing yards against McNeese St) and excel on kick and punt returns allows for an intriguing candidate for the Patriots.
Sam Aiken - Along with a good chunk of other people, I did not know Sam Aiken was still a New England Patriot. However, he did sign a 2 year contract last offseason for 1.56 million. Aiken was not a real impact player last year, only amassing 8 catches for 101 yards (with most of that coming on a 43 yard catch against the Jets). However, Aiken was a consistent special teams player and a hard worker, and will likely see himself in the same role again this season for the Patriots.
Matthew Slater - The Patriots announced earlier this offseason that Slater will be working strictly as a Safety this season, but has already been seen working with the Quarterbacks and running routes. Belicheck likes to keep his options open, and with Slater haven't a quite disappointing season last year, he may try and find anywhere he can to show he is the quality football player he was in college.
Julian Edelman - Although drafted as a QB/WR, Edelman is yet to throw the ball in OTAs. Believed to be drafted for the Wildcat formation, Edelman is known for his sure hands when catching the ball. He is not yet a master of burning cornerbacks or perfect route running, but that can come with time. Question is, can he do it in enough time to earn a spot on this roster?
This leaves 8 Wide Receivers on the roster, with the average NFL team only carrying 6 or 7. However, this is not your ordinary team.