It would be nice for the New England Patriots to sign a wide receiver like the Bears' Alshon Jeffery. It'd be great if they could sign the Browns' Travis Benjamin or the Bengals' Marvin Jones. It would be sweet to take from a divisional rival by signing the Dolphins' Rishard Matthews.
I don't think any of these moves will happen. Jeffery is a cornerstone of the Bears' future, while Jones, Benjamin, and Matthews are coming off career seasons. The Bill Belichick move would be to sign a depreciated asset, or a player that is a year or two removed from their best season, and still young enough to recapture some of that magic.
Here are four players that could be on the Patriots' radar.
6'4, 210 lbs, 4.45 40, 6.69 3C, 10'10 BJ, 35.0 VJ
2015 Stats: 14 rec, 201 yds, 4 TDs
Best Season: 2014; 47 rec, 693 yds, 4 TDs
Why: Holmes is one of the bigger athletic freaks listed and his production decline is easily explanation by the introduction of rookie Amari Cooper and veteran Michael Crabtree to the Oakland offense. Holmes would be a huge target on the outside with the speed on deep routes that the Patriots haven't had this year.
Why Not: The Patriots signed Holmes to their practice squad on January 8th 2013, and released him in the subsequent May. He wasn't a part of the team's long term plans. Homes was also a restricted free agent this past season and no one was interested. The Raiders tagged him with the original round tender. Holmes was undrafted. It would have cost almost nothing to sign him and the Patriots weren't interested.
6'3, 210 lbs, 4.43 40, 6.99 3C, 10'1 BJ, 31.0 VJ
2015 Stats: 57 rec, 797 yds, 8 TDs
Best Season: 2014; 71 rec, 938 yds, 3 TDs
Why: Randle is a great #2-3 option in any offense and could effectively become a more athletic Brandon LaFell. He's played as a #2 behind Odell Beckham Jr. and managed to produce- just imagine if he gets to match up with the opposing team's #3 defender in the secondary.
Why Not: Randle has expressed an interest to return to the Giants, but he also started speaking out for more opportunities late in the season. Would Randle want to be the #3 target in the Patriots offense, or would he speak out against it? If former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin speaks out against Randle, it's not likely that Bill Belichick will take a chance.
6'2, 200 lbs, 4.46 40, 7.06 3C, 11'1 BJ, 37.5 VJ
2015 Stats: 1 rec, 8 yds
Best Season: 2013; 60 rec, 888 yds, 4 TDs, 2 rushes, 17 yds
Why: Streater missed the majority of the 2014 season with a broken foot and missed some of the preseason with an illness; that could have had a LaFell-like impact on Streater in 2015. Streater is possibly the most talented of all the receivers listed, which means his upside could be huge. He's effectively been sidelined for the past two seasons, so his market value should be the cheapest. Oakland used a 2nd round tender on Streater prior to the 2015 season, which means they valued him more than Holmes.
Why Not: Streater was the #3 target in the Raiders offense, behind just Cooper and Crabtree, but fell behind Seth Roberts and the aforementioned Holmes. How and why did Streater fall off in such a major way? That's a big question. If it's more than the injury, it's worth knowing.
6'2, 215 lbs, 4.54 40, 6.88 3C, 10'6 BJ, 36.0 VJ
2015 Stats: 33 rec, 394 yds, 10 rushes, 71 yds, 2 TDs
Best Season: 2014; 56 rec, 790 yds, 5 TDs, 7 rushes, 51 yds
Why: He went to Rutgers. Okay, fine, he's a quality receiver that can align all over the formation. He can carry the ball and he is happy to serve as a depth option in an offense. Sanu saw a decline in production with the returns of tight end Tyler Eifert and receiver Marvin Jones, as well as the returned health of A.J. Green. He was effectively the 5th option behind running back Giovanni Bernard, too. His production would improve as the #3 or #4 option.
Why Not: Sanu seems to like being in Cincinnati and he's not considerably better than LaFell from an athletic perspective- and the Patriots already have Julian Edelman for the wild cat. Why not stick with the receiver you know, than the one you don't?