By: Ian Logue
If you can’t beat them, get them to join you.
After a team leading 7-catch, 59yd performance including a touchdown during the Panthers Monday night win over New England earlier last season, the Patriots have managed to lure Carolina free agent receiver Brandon LaFell to their side after CSNNE’s Tom Curran reported that he’s agreed to join Bill Belichick’s team, just hours after the team re-signed free agent Julian Edelman.
According to Adam Schefter, it’s a 3-year deal.
At 6’2″ LaFell gives New England another big body to go along with 2nd-year receiver Aaron Dobson, who is 6’3″. Looking over the depth chart, height was something they certainly needed as none of the remaining names on the list who played a snap last season were over six feet tall. His addition now gives the Patriots an additional big body along with Dobson to compliment tight end Rob Gronkowski as another potential scoring threat down in the red area.
Against New England in Week 11 in what ended up being a controversial finish, LaFell had a good night. He caught a touchdown against rookie Duron Harmon and was a reliable target for Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, missing on only one pass attempt when looking LaFell’s way after having targeted him eight times.
During that contest, here’s a breakdown of LaFell’s receptions:
Deep Left: 1/1 17yds
Deep Right: 1/0
Short Middle: 2/2 17yds 1 TD
Short Right: 4/4 25yds
1st: 4/4 38yds
2nd: 2/2 12yds
3rd: 1/2 9yds 1 TD
With LaFell in the fold, the Patriots don’t appear done yet in terms of exploring additional receiving options. New England will reportedly take a look at former University of Rutgers receiver and Tennessee Titans free agent Kenny Britt on Sunday. Between the addition of LaFell and New England’s continued interest in receivers, that may not be a good sign for Kenbrell Thompkins. Thompkins peaked early last season before dropping off in the second half, and like he did last preseason, he may have to battle it out to prove he deserves a roster spot.
All in all it’s yet another interesting move in what has already been quite a week here in New England.