The New England Patriots really need an outside wide receiver after cutting ties with Brandon LaFell and informing Brian Tyms that his services would no longer be needed. Aaron Dobson remains the only other outside wide receiver on the roster and his standing with the team is tenuous at best.
Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and Keshawn Martin were the team's top three receivers for the playoffs, and back-up Chris Harper is cut from the same cloth. All four players can line-up inside from the slot, or outside, which is great- but the offense functions better when there is a reliable outside option that can force defenses to respect the sidelines.
This is why free agents like Anquan Boldin or Mohamed Sanu don't make too much sense for the Patriots- they are players that have been operating out of the slot and would just serve to mimic the depth already on the roster.
Here are six players that could interest the Patriots as outside threats. Ages are on September 1st, 2016.
1. Bengals WR Marvin Jones; 26 years old, 6'2, 195 lbs. Jones has battled injures throughout his career, but his success in 2015, combined with a weak free agent wide receiver class, makes him the top option. Will likely command upwards of $6 million per season.
2. Dolphins WR Rishard Matthews; 26 years old, 6'0, 210 lbs. Matthews is a key factor in the Dolphins offense and runs a lot of the same routes that the Patriots requested of LaFell. Will likely command upwards of $5 million per season.
3. Seahawks WR Jermaine Kearse; 26 years old, 6'1, 210 lbs. Kearse came into his own at the end of the 2015 season and has improved with each season in the league. Will likely command upwards of $5 million per season.
4. Giants WR Rueben Randle; 25 years old, 6'2, 210 lbs. Randle is in the same class as Jones, Matthews, and Kearse as a quality #2 or #3 option in an offense. Will likely command upwards of $5 million per season.
5. Patriots WR Brandon Gibson; 29 years old, 6'0, 210 lbs. Gibson spent the 2015 season on the Patriots injured reserve, but he is a solid fit in a Josh McDaniels offense. Would likely sign for the veteran's minimum.
6. Raiders WR Rod Streater; 28 years old, 6'3, 215 lbs. Streater was pushed down the depth chart due to injury and free agent acquisitions. Could likely sign for the veteran's minimum.