The New England Patriots currently have 88 players on their active roster. However, only 53 of them will be able to survive the cutdowns on September 1 and ultimately make the team. Over the course of the offseason, we take a look at the players fighting for those spots to find out who has the best chances of helping the Patriots recapture the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Today, the series continues with one of New England’s offseason additions.
Name: Cordarrelle Patterson
Position: Wide receiver
Jersey number: 84
Opening day age: 27
Size: 6’2, 230 lbs.
2017 review: Despite him earning All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors at kickoff returner in 2016, the Minnesota Vikings decided to let Cordarrelle Patterson hit the open market after the end of his rookie deal in 2017. It did not take long for the former first-round draft pick to find a new home: the Oakland Raiders signed Patterson to a two-year, $8.5 million contract – an investment that did not fully work out for the team.
Like the Vikings, the Raiders gave Patterson plenty of opportunities to prove himself on both offense and in the kicking game. Serving as Oakland’s number four wide receiver, he was on the field for 42.7% of the team’s offensive snaps (430 of 1,080). A rotational and package-specific option, Patterson was used as both a pass catcher and a ball carrier to take advantage of the vision and athleticism that make him an elite kick returner.
However, he failed to establish himself as a regular on the Raiders’ offense and therefore finished the season with a relatively modest 430 yards from scrimmage: Patterson caught 31 passes for 309 yards and received an additional 13 carries for 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Solid numbers for a depth wide receiver, but not what is generally expected of a player carrying a $5.6 million salary cap hit.
Once again, Patterson’s biggest contributions in terms of impacting field position came on special teams. Overall, he ran back 19 kicks during his 16 games last year, for a combined 538 yards and an average of 28.3 yards per return. Just like on offense, his numbers were solid but could not quite live up to the expectations and price tag with which Patterson entered Oakland in free agency.
2018 preview: With Patterson scheduled to hit the Raiders’ salary cap with $3.25 million in 2018, the team decided to place him on the trade market. Oakland found a willing trade partner in mid-March: the Patriots, who acquired Patterson and a sixth-round draft pick for a fifth-round selection – a logical move for New England to make after the team lost both their kickoff returner (Dion Lewis) and a rotational wideout (Danny Amendola) in free agency.
Given his rather high cap number and the fact that the Patriots paid a relatively modest price to acquire him, Patterson was no lock to make the team when he joined it. Five months later, this outlook has changed quite a bit: while he has yet to flash his talents as a kickoff returner, the 27-year old received plenty of practice reps and preseason playing time at the wide receiver position.
All the uncertainties surrounding the position and his solid performance this summer make Patterson a virtual lock to survive roster cuts. And while it remains to be seen how the team ultimately uses him during the regular season, his athleticism and versatility make for an intriguing chess piece for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to use. And even though he will not be the second coming of Randy Moss, Patterson should turn out to be a solid pickup.