Austin Collie is now a Patriot, according to a league source.
New England brought Collie in for a workout this past offseason, but he left without a contract. He went on to sign with the San Francisco 49ers, but was released in August during final roster cuts. Collie is a talented, albeit injury-prone, receiver who saw his best season as a pro in 2010 when he hauled in 58 receptions for 649 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Provided that this is a low-money, incentive-laden deal which doesn't put the Patriots on the hook should Collie suffer another concussion, I think this is a good move for them. I'm sure there are those who will say that signing Collie doesn't show any faith in the development of the receiving corp or that putting Collie on the field hampers the development of the rookies, but I believe more than anything this is a depth-related roster move. When Aaron Dobson went down against the Falcons, the Patriots were down to only three receivers; adding Collie to the mix will provide an extra body should the team need it, as well as a physical talent who has proven that he can produce at an NFL level. Don't expect Collie to come in and immediately start lighting it up, but as a 4th wide receiver (or 5th when Danny Amendola returns), you could do a lot worse.
I doubt we'll see much of Collie this week, as he has a very complicated offense to pick up. But provided all those concussions didn't knock out his ability to understand a complex playbook, such as the one the Manning-led Colts ran, Collie could be on the field before long.