ESPN’s Field Yates reports that the Patriots worked out veteran wide receiver Eric Decker, formerly of the Titans, New York Jets, and Denver Broncos. The Patriots are thin at wide receiver and Decker has both experience and size.
Decker could fill a role similar to Kenny Britt and Malcolm Mitchell as a big outside red zone target, but he also can move into the slot where he was very productive with the Jets.
Personally, I’d be more inclined to sign Dez Bryant, but maybe Decker would be available on a cheaper contract (his name’s not been in the headlines noting team interest as much)- and his experience playing inside and outside could be considered a bonus.
Decker’s best years came as a #2 to Demaryius Thomas in Denver (2012-13) and as a #2 to Brandon Marshall in New York (2015), so he wouldn’t be asked to be a #1 in New England. Heck, wouldn’t even be a #2 as he’d be behind Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan to start the season and would be relegated to a #4 when Julian Edelman returns. Factor in the targets to running backs and Decker’s role is minimal at best.
But he’s a solid veteran looking for a team and would fit into the same tier of player as Kenny Britt, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Jordan Matthews- veterans with varying levels of production that could greatly benefit from playing with the greatest quarterback of all time and the best offensive coordinator in the league.
The New England Patriots signed former Tennessee Titans offensive lineman Brian Schwenke, per ESPN’s Field Yates, and waived/injured tight end Shane Wimann, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss, on Tuesday afternoon. Bernd has you covered here, but I’ve added my thoughts below.
Wimann will revert to the Patriots reserves alongside Darren Andrews and Cody Hollister if he clears waivers.
The Patriots previously released fellow tight end Troy Niklas last week, greatly narrowing the competition at the position. Dwayne Allen, Jacob Hollister, Will Tye, and Ryan Izzo are competing to back-up Rob Gronkowski.
Schwenke is entering his sixth season in the NFL, having played five years for the Titans as a fourth round draft pick in 2013. I was a huge fan of his back then and thought he was a good fit for the Patriots. He has started 30 games over that time with experience at every interior line position, making him a perfect Bill Belichick training camp offensive lineman- a veteran with starting experience that can push for a super-sub role.
Why do the Patriots want to add another interior lineman? Who knows. Veteran center Luke Bowanko fumbled a few snaps, so maybe Belichick wanted another center. Schwenke isn’t notably different from the Bowanko, Matt Tobin, Ted Karras, and Cole Croston tier of players already on the roster, so perhaps a subsequent move on the interior line is in the works.