New England Patriots wide receiver Kenny Britt might not even suit up on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the 6’3, 225-pound receiver was added to help the Patriots in the red zone. Britt has 5,114 receiving yards and 32 touchdowns over his 9-year career, including a 1,002 receiving yards last year.
Britt was 20 years old at the start of his rookie season as the 30th overall pick of the draft by the Tennessee Titans and his career lacked necessary stability. He ran through three different offensive coordinators and a torn ACL in his five years with the Titans before he followed his former head coach Jeff Fisher to the then-St. Louis Rams where he suffered through three more offensive coordinators in his three seasons.
Britt finally played under his seventh offensive coordinator in just nine years when he signed with the Cleveland Browns for 2017- and now Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will be his eighth.
That instability always hurts the development of a player and there shouldn’t be any expectations for Britt to contribute right out of the gate as an every-down player. Instead, he’ll likely get a few designed plays as he adjusts to the New England offense.
“[Britt’s] just kind of come in and worked hard the last couple days and trying to understand all the things we’ve got going,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. “Hopefully, we can add something to the mix here in a short period of time. It’s always challenging for a guy to come in late and pick up everything at once, but hopefully he can figure out a role. He’s had a lot of production and he’s going to have to go out and earn it, earn everybody’s trust to get out there, but he’s done a good job the first couple days.”
The Patriots had wanted Britt in free agency “but he got too pricey,” according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Now they’ll get a chance to see how he works in the offense before deciding whether or not to pick up the second year option in his contract.
What drew Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to Britt?
“He’s been a productive player in this league,” Belichick said before adding, “It’s only been a couple days, so we’ll see how it goes...He’s bigger than anybody we have.”
The 6’3 Britt joins a wide receiver group with 6’1 Chris Hogan, 6’0 Malcolm Mitchell (on the injured reserve), 5’10 Brandin Cooks, 5’10 Danny Amendola, and 5’10 Phillip Dorsett. The Patriots have taller tight ends, but a tall outside receiver was certainly an absent feature in the New England offense.
While the Patriots lead the NFL with 34 drives finishing inside the 10-yard line, they’ve only scored a touchdown on 70.6% of those drives, which ranks 18th in the NFL. There’s plenty of room to improve the offense’s efficiency by the goal line and Britt’s size should certainly help.