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

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

TEAM TALK

LOCAL LINKS

  • Christopher Price writes about how Junior Seau was one of a kind, both on and off the field.
  • Karen Guregian reports Kevin Faulk says Junior Seau meant something powerful to the Patriots.
  • Tom E. Curran looks at the questions left in the wake of Junior Seau's death.
  • Ron Borges sets the blame for Junior Seau's death squarely at the feet of a violent game.
  • Chad Finn remembers Junior Seau.
  • Boston.com posts the Twitter reactions from several members of the New England Patriots after hearing news of Junior Seau's death.
  • Field Yates re-sets the Patriots WR depth chart with the addition of Jabar Gaffney.
  • Jeff Howe reports Jason Licht left his perch as the director of pro personnel to take over as the Cardinals' director of player personnel, and tells us what it means for the Pats.
  • Mary Paoletti notes the Patriots have not yet contacted any of the veteran RBs that came in for visits before the draft.
  • Karen Guregian Patriots Notebook: Jabar Gaffney is returning to the Patriots, joining a crowded WR corp; Jason Licht, pro personnel director for three seasons, has left NE to take a director of player personnel position with the Arizona Cardinals; Asst. Bob Quinn is the likely successor to Licht.
  • Joe Parello reports Matthew Slater and Julian Edelman were in Worcester Tuesday, bringing smiles to children at the UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center.
  • Mike Lowe finds Patrick Chung at the Portland Sea Dogs' ballpark, signing autographs and posing for photos with fans, but declining to talk with the media.
  • Dan Duquette tells us Wes Welker claims Larry Izzo once earned a game ball for pooping on the sideline during a game. Uh... thanks, Wes.
  • CSNNE posts a video of Chad Ochocinco serving his fellow receivers when they all went out to lunch together. (3.13 min. video)

NATIONAL NEWS