We're only a few weeks into free agency, and already the Patriot receiving core looks drastically different than it did last season. Welker is out the door, and Brandon Lloyd went with him. Now, the Patriots have a trio of new receivers to assimilate into their offense for 2013. This might seem a bit scary for those who fear change, but there's a strong chance the newest Pats wideouts could fit in right away, allowing for yet another high-powered offense in Foxboro.
The most noteworthy of the three signings was Danny Amendola, who played extremely well when healthy during his time with the St. Louis Rams. The general consensus is that Amendola will essentially be filling the role that Welker played for the past six years. While that might be an oversimplification, it's hard to disagree with that logic all that much. Amendola has thrived the same way Welker - catching a high volume of short passes down the middle for modest gains. This is the kind of thing Tom Brady has been doing for over a decade now, and it's likely that he and Amendola will develop great chemistry right away, If Amendola can avoid another freak injury, it wouldn't be shocking to see him approach 100 receptions this season.
The other two new wideouts - Donald Jones and Michael Jenkins - are wild cards to a certain extent, but each could conceivably be useful this season. This is especially true of Jones, who has been decent in Buffalo, but has the potential to become much more that what we've seen. His most notable attribute is his speed, but when you're catching passes from the notoriously weak-armed Ryan Fitzpatrick (as Jones was in Buffalo for the past three years), it's hard to thrive as a downfield threat. Obviously, there's an enormous upgrade from Fitzpatrick to Brady, and Jones could reap the benefits. Due to how crowded the Patriots receiving core is - Gronk and Hernandez will be hauling in a lot of passes too - his reception total of 40 might not improve by too much, but his relatively low 10.8 yards per catch should skyrocket now that he gets to work with Brady.
Finally, there's Jenkins, who caught 40 passes with the Minnesota Vikings last season. He's not the type of player who inspires a great deal of excitement, but his reliability is undeniable. He's caught between 36 and 53 passes for each of the last eight seasons, and there's no reason to think he won't continue to produce at that general level with the Patriots. He's the kind of player who you can expect to be quietly effective while occasionally hauling in a few big third down catches.
The Patriots made some changes at receiver these past few weeks, but there's little reason to be nervous. Tom Brady lead a team whose best receiver was Reche Caldwell to a 12-4 record. He can certainly work with this. Every new addition will have a clear place in this offense, and after a few weeks, the new-look Patriots receiving core will feel completely comfortable. With Brady around, there's never going to be much of an adjustment period.