Patriots Must Resolve Wide Receiver Problem Or Continue To Fall Behind In AFC East

Videos by OutKick

New England Patriots fans are the best because through two decades of winning or competing for Super Bowls they were conditioned to expect the best outcome from their team.

So those fans who are seeing the New York Jets chase quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Miami Dolphins trade for cornerback Jalen Ramsey and the Buffalo Bills continuing to build around quarterback Josh Allen are expecting something really good from their team.

Because the Patriots desperately need to answer to remain competitive. To remain relevant.

But the Patriots so far have offered no good answer in free agency’s negotiating period which ends at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Safety Damar Hamlin #3 and safety Jordan Poyer of the Buffalo Bills reacts after breaking up a pass intended for wide receiver Jakobi Meyers of the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium on December 01, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Hamlin was ejected for the hit on the play. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

Patriots Lose Jakobi Meyers To Raiders

The Patriots, indeed, have bled some talent and done it at a position where they were already markedly weak.

Last year one of the problems the Patriots had was their offense was, well, middling. They were 17th in the NFL in points. The passing offense barely averaged over 200 yards per game.

And from that group the Patriots on Tuesday lost perhaps their best and most consistent receiver in Jakobi Meyers who agreed to a three-year, $33 million with the Las Vegas Raiders.

This in an offseason the Patriots are seemingly moving on from Nelson Agholor, an underperforming receiver acquisition two years ago who is a free agent now, and already traded underperforming tight end Jonnu Smith to the Atlanta Falcons.

So the Patriots, who finished third in the AFC East and under .500 last season, look headed in the wrong direction. They look headed to the division cellar if Rodgers is traded to the Jets and lifts them as expected.

The Patriots need help.

They need playmakers, among other things.

But here’s the problem: This is a rough offseason to need playmakers at the receiver position.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 30: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) reacts after catching a touchdown pass during the first half of the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, October 30, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Where Are The Dynamic WRs This Offseason?

All the draft gurus and even NFL personnel people who gathered at the Combine are saying the draft class of receivers is not as stocked as it has been the past few years.

And the group of available wide receivers in free agency and perhaps in trade pales compared to last season.

Last year, you may recall, the Eagles acquired A.J. Brown from the Tennessee Titans.

The Dolphins acquired Tyreek Hill from the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Raiders acquired Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers.

The Jaguars signed Christian Kirk as a free agent.

Legitimate dynamic receivers moved to new teams.

So who are the dynamic receivers available when full blown free agency kicks off at 4 p.m Wednesday?

One second…



Well, maybe Odell Beckham Jr. And that’s pretty much it.

Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr. #3 of the Los Angeles Rams looks on in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium on November 15, 2021 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

The Odell Beckham Jr. Option

But Beckham comes with issues. The first issue is his durability because he missed all of last season while recovering from an ACL injury suffered in the Super Bowl while playing for the Rams.

And the other issue is Beckham, 30, doesn’t recognize he’s coming off his second ACL injury and missed an entire year. So he wants a contract in the $18M-$22M per year range.

That’s where he expects to land. It’s possible his representatives are stating their initial asking price even higher.

The Patriots, who did attend Beckham’s open workout for teams recently, are letting Meyers walk for $11 million per year. So they are either going to be prepared to take a huge gamble on a veteran with an injury history or find another avenue.

Patriots fans, meanwhile, are expecting a surprise move. Maybe a trade!

DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals stands on the field between plays during the game against the Houston Texans at State Farm Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals beat the Texans 31-5. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Patriots Might Explore WR Trade

The names in circulation around New England have been DeAndre Hopkins coming from Arizona, or Jerry Jeudy or Courtland Sutton coming from Denver, or Brandin Cooks coming from Houston for his second go-round after playing for the Patriots in 2017.

The Patriots may try to work something out for Raiders receiver Hunter Renfrow, who may be on the move from Las Vegas.

The problem here that is believing players are on the trade block doesn’t always send them packing to the Copley Marriott. Sometimes the Pats balk. Sometimes other teams rethink losing the players. Or the players are not actually on the trade block.

The other problem is beyond Beckham the receivers the Patriots would have to consider in free agency this year are WR2 or WR3 types.

So the Patriots, who in 2007 figured out great wide receivers make everyone great, so far have DeVante Parker as their top receiver threat.

Why is that not good enough? Parker is the player the Miami cornerback Xavien Howard used to dominate in practice. The Dolphins discarded him after they upgraded to guys such as Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Leave a Reply