The New England Patriots shipped away wide receiver Brandon LaFell and now have a pretty big opening at sideline "X" wide receiver. Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Keshawn Martin, Chris Harper, and futures contract signee DeAndre Carter all play the movable "Z" wide receiver role.
Along with the decision to cut LaFell, the Patriots have told Brandon Gibson and Brian Tyms that they will not be with the team in 2015. Aaron Dobson is the last remaining X receiver on the roster.
Look for the X receiver position to have a major overhaul during the next two months- and look for veterans to be interested in joining the Patriots.
As free agency approaches I'm told #49ers WR Anquan Boldin wants to play for a team that can compete at the highest level. Important to him.— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) March 6, 2016
When a veteran receiver say they want to play for a contender, it's natural to connect them with the Patriots because there's an open path towards the starting lineup. So would free agent WR Anquan Boldin be a good fit?
Well, that depends on what the Patriots are looking for in a receiver. Boldin, along with Bengals WR Mohamed Sanu, are primarily slot receivers. They're really good slot receivers, but they're slot receivers nonetheless. And Boldin's been a slot receiver for a while.
Perhaps the 6'0, 215 lbs Boldin could join the offense as a flex player similar to his role with the Cardinals. The Patriots use Edelman in a similar capacity, with him spending roughly 50% of his time in the slot and 50% of his time on the outside. Boldin could serve to increase flexibility as Amendola is rarely utilized on the outside.
If the Patriots part ways with Danny Amendola, then a door could open for Boldin or Sanu, but both players would be redundant on the roster as it currently stands.
A true outside wide receiver remains the priority as the position opens up plays in the middle of the field for both Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski. Boldin doesn't fill that need.