Right now, I find myself questioning the idea of the Pats NEEDing a deep threat for their offense. I'm going to borrow an outline from some writers here to help argue with myself about this topic, and then you guys can decide which of my personalities are less insane than the other.
Why the Pats DO NOT need a Deep Threat
I want you to answer this honestly. IF we had a healthy Gronkowski (and Talib did not get injured), would the chances of us winning against Baltimore increase dramatically? Of course it will increase, but could it have increased to the point where we would have scored a hell of a lot more TDs than we did? When Gronkowski was out, our best redzone threat, we had some trouble in the redzone against one of the best red zone teams in the NFL in the Ravens.
With Gronkowski, what are the chances we would win against San Fran? The point I'm getting at here is that perhaps our problem on offense is not the lack of a deep threat, but just unlucky when it comes to injuries. Gronkowski coming back himself makes our offense from being a top 3 offense to the best offense in the NFL. We score points better than anyone in the league with him. We get tons of yards, our blocking is a lot better, our redzone offense increases a ton, and Welker and Hernandez and Lloyd all benefit from a healthy Gronkowski.
A healthy offense is the best offense in the NFL, and it has no deep threat. Most teams, like Detroit, Baltimore, Denver, Cardinals, etc. all have deep threats, yet are nowhere near as dangerous as an offense as the Pats when healthy (and yes, injuries, happen, but what happened to Gronkowski was a freak accident. Something that should not have happened if they ran the same plays a million times).
Why the Pats NEED a Deep Threat
Despite being the best offense in the league when healthy, there is still room for improvement. Having a deep threat will make our offense more consistent, and more dynamic. It will give Brady a good option outside the numbers, and stretch the field.
Not just a good option though. A VERY good option. An outside WR that is a redzone threat, and will force defenses not to crowd the middle of the field. If we are on the opponents 40 yard line, to make the DC of our opponent feel that our offense can certainly score from this position will 1) add more consistency to our offense which has shown inconsistency before, 2) make Gronkowski and Hernandez THAT much more dangerous, and 3) Our redzone offense, and therefore scoring offense, will increase.
And scoring is the name of the game here. Brady needs to have a young, big WR that can go deep and make plays in traffic. Otherwise it feels that the team's Safety won't have to worry about the deep pass, and instead help the defense on the TEs. It adds versatility to our offense that we have not had in a while. How did we score a lot of points against the 49ers after the half? Despite that Lloyd was not performing as a deep threat last season, he was able to have one of, if not THE best game of the season catching DEEP passes when Welker and Herndo were covered, just like how Baltimore was able to score at will against San Fran. Can we rely on Gronkowski himself to help carry the offense if Welker is gone? Or Herndo? If we were to face a great defense, what is the indication that we would consistently be able to put up points to win games without a deep threat? And even if Welker is here, if we need to score points, can we rely on mid-range passes with little possibility of a deep pass to get points when needed, or consistently?
We need deep threat, especially when Welker is gone. We need to have defenses worry about anything other than the mid-range threats. We need to be a threat everywhere if we are to score consistently, and make Brady's life that much easier. Imagine how dangerous this offense can be with an offense making things easier for Brady? lol
My Personal Opinion
There are points that can be argued for either one. I may have even missed a few things.
In my opinion though, we should focus more on beefing up our defense, than worry about a deep threat for our offense. A deep threat would make this offense more dynamic, but it is not as much a need as Safety, DT, CB, and even OL to an extent. A lot depends on what happens in free agency, but as of now, I think we should focus more on defense, and less on giving Brady a new toy he probably doesn't need for the best offense in the league (when Gronkowski is healthy).
That said, it would be wise to at least have someone on the outside.