The New England Patriots‘ 2016 training camp is underway. Players fight for practice repetitions and playing time to earn one of the 53 spots on the roster. They have until late August, when each team has to start making its roster cuts, to secure a role.
Until then, players have to secure their spots on the team; they need to do their jobs (well) or someone else will. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will take a look at the men fighting for those spots on the 2016 New England Patriots. Today, we’ll continue the series with wide receiver Nate Washington.
Name: Nate Washington
Position: Wide receiver
Jersey number: 84
Size: 6’1, 185 lbs.
2015 review: After six seasons with the Tennessee Titans, Washington signed a one-year deal with the Houston Texans during the 2015 offseason. The veteran wideout was able to establish himself as the Texans’ number two receiving option over the course of the season and finished with 48 receptions for 661 yards and four touchdowns.
Overall, Washington appeared in 15 games in 2015 and played 829 of the team’s 1,247 offensive snaps (66.5%) While he was the Texans’ second-most used and second-most productive receiving option, the team did not re-sign him after the season.
2016 preview: The Patriots signed Washington to a 1-year, $1.065 million contract in March. But even though his cap hit is low and he has been a productive player last season (and before that), Washington is currently on the roster bubble given the depth and talent New England has at wide receiver – and that fact that five spots already seem to be in safe hands.
Therefore, the 32-year old, who has experience in a system similar to the Patriots’ given his 2015 season under Bill O’Brien, fights for one of a maximum of two roster spots. So far, Washington’s competition seems to have the upper hand: Aaron Dobson due to his spectacular training camp performance, Keshawn Martin due to versatility and Chris Harper due to his familiarity with both Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo.
If Washington wants to compete with them and have a realistic shot at making the team, he quickly needs to return to practice – he has been out with an illness since leaving the first session last Thursday – and start working on his chemistry with the quarterbacks. But even if he is able to do that, Washington’s chances of making the team appear low unless one of the players mentioned above, or one of the five roster locks, gets (or remains) injured.
Nate Washington is a nice asset to have at this time of the year; a seasoned player to provide depth as well as tutelage for the younger receivers on the roster. Unfortunately for him, those younger wideouts offer more upside than the 11-year veteran to go along with an already long list of roster locks at the position. Therefore, it would not be a surprise to see Washington’s tenure in Foxboro end before opening day.