New England Patriots Links 5/03/12 - Which Receiver Will Be Odd Man Out?

Fans create a cross on the beach across from Junior Seau's home, while mourning his death.

Christopher Price tells us what the return of Jabar Gaffney means for the passing game.

Gaffney should still be able to have an impact on the New England passing game. He is coming off the finest year of his career, as he finished the 2011 season with career-highs in catches (68) and yards (947), and tied his career-best with five touchdown receptions, all for a Washington passing game that finished in the middle of the league in most major statistical categories. The fact that he can still get up and down the field at a good rate, his previous knowledge of the offense and his excellent rapport with Brady all figure to make him a favorite to make the final roster.

However, it was already a crowded field before the Patriots made their bid to bring back Gaffney. Now, they have 11 receivers on the roster, not including seventh-round draft pick Jeremy Ebert: Gaffney, Wes Welker (presuming he signs his franchise tender), Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch, Donte Stallworth, Anthony Gonzalez, Julian Edelman, Chad Ochocinco, Tiquan Underwood, Matthew Slater and Britt Davis. At least one veteran of note won’t make it to opening day.

James Walker (ESPN) Numbers game at WR for Patriots.

Analysis: Welker, Lloyd and Gaffney are locks. That leaves four roster spots, at most, for receivers. Branch is in because he's a solid veteran who knows the offense well. I think you also keep Slater as the No. 7 receiver, mostly due to the fact he's a Pro Bowler on special teams and a team captain. The final two spots are really up in the air. I think Ochocinco, Gonzalez and Stallworth all have a realistic chance. Edelman looks like the definite odd man out following the Gaffney signing.

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