Earlier this week, ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported that the New England Patriots were evaluating sophomore WR Malcolm Mitchell to determine whether or not the receiver would make a return in 2017.
According to the Herald’s Jeff Howe, the Patriots were not projecting a return for Mitchell and that any contributions from the receiver would be unexpected.
As of a couple weeks ago, the Patriots were still operating under the assumption Mitchell wouldn’t be back this season. Unaware if that has changed. https://t.co/yYrqxxRGpp— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) November 24, 2017
The Patriots have a thin receiver depth chart with Chris Hogan recovering from a shoulder injury and Matthew Slater battling a hamstring injury, leaving just Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola, and Phillip Dorsett. Still, the Patriots are able to supplement with receiving tight ends (Rob Gronkowski, Dwayne Allen, Martellus Bennett, and Jacob Hollister) and receiving backs (Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, and James White) to keep moving the ball through the air.
Mitchell could have been exactly what the doctor ordered for the Patriots as a red zone option as Mitchell was one of the Patriots top end zone targets down the stretch and in the postseason for 2016.
But if the current expectations remain, then Mitchell won’t be a part of the 2017 strategy and would turn his eyes towards a healthy return in 2018.