Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
The Patriots are bringing back a familiar face to bolster their depth at receiver, reportedly re-signing veteran Donte Stallworth.
The New England Patriots have made a move to address their depth issues at the wide receiver position. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, the New England Patriots have re-signed veteran receiver Donte Stallworth.
Yes -- this will be Stallworth's third stint with the team. Stallworth was with the Patriots in 2007, before being cut following the season. After stints with the Browns, Ravens, and Redskins, Stallworth re-signed with the Patriots this offseason. He ended up having a strong preseason, but was released at the end of camp along with every other receiver not named Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, or Julian Edelman.
However, with Edelman now nursing an apparent leg injury, and the team having released both Deion Branch and Greg Salas in recent weeks, the Patriots have made a move back to Stallworth. The team actually worked out Stallworth last week, and it appears that the injury to Edelman has forced their hand.
Stallworth could actually end up playing an immediate role in his return, as he'll likely be asked to take on the #3 role in the Patriots' depth chart until Julian Edelman comes back. As he showed in the preseason, he still has good speed, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple of deep throws go his way, especially considering Edelman has been targeted in that area several times over the last few weeks.
So why not re-sign Branch, you ask?
Probably a health related issue. Branch was initially cut a few weeks ago because he suffered a hamstring injury. My belief is, that were Branch healthy, he would have been re-signed over Stallworth. Just speculation, but either way, the Patriots get a veteran receiver with plenty of experience in the system.
The Patriots will have to make a corresponding roster move to create space for Stallworth. No word on what that move is as of yet.