The New England Patriots are starting to surface as a team interested in the second- or third-tier of player in free agency. After an evening where Patriots interest in Jets free agent running back Bilal Powell and in Dolphins free agent wide receiver Rishard Matthews surfaced, more information on the Patriots free agent intentions is becoming clear.
Per the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe, the Patriots are interested in Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu.
The Patriots are among a few teams to show interest in Mohamed Sanu, per source. Question is the money. Might take $5M per year to get him.— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 9, 2016
The Bengals have a few key free agent receivers in #2 Marvin Jones, #3 Mohamed Sanu, and #4 Brandon Tate. Cincinnati found a way to retain Tate, but Jones is likely going to receive a major payday on the open market. This leaves Sanu as the odd-man out in the middle tier of receivers.
Sanu is a slot receiver that was never really a top option in a Bengals offense that featured receiver A.J. Green, tight end Tyler Eifert, and running back Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill, as well as Jones. Perhaps he could rise to the opportunity if given a shot.
Sanu is likely under consideration for the same role as Matthews as a possible #2 receiver in the Patriots offense, and the 6'1, 210 lbs receiver is capable of playing on the sideline. The Patriots will hopefully also look into Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse.
Personally, the connection between the Patriots and Sanu has been telegraphed since it became clear that the Bengals wouldn't retain his services. It's much like 2013 when every single person watched Danny Amendola sign with New England and went well, yeah, where else would he go?
We'll have to watch to see the market price of free agent wide receivers in order to get a better understanding of whether the Patriots will be able to sign a player like Sanu or Matthews- or to see if releasing Brandon LaFell was a big mistake.