How do you think the Pats should go about addressing their need at WR? Assuming 2010 is uncapped:
Notable Free Agents
Terrell Owens - 36 - UFA
Antonio Bryant - 29 - UFA
Derrick Mason - 36 - UFA
Kevin Walter - 29 - UFA
Vincent Jackson - 27 - RFA
Brandon Marshall - 26 - RFA
Miles Austin - 26 - RFA
Braylon Edwards - 26 - RFA
Malcolm Floyd - 28 - RFA
Steve Breaston - 27 - RFA
Josh Reed - 30 - UFA
Lance Moore - 27 -RFA
Possibly on the Block
Players Who Might Be Cut and Know the Offense
Notable Draft Prospects
Dez Bryant - Oklahoma St.
Brandon Lafell - LSU
Damian Williams - USC
Golden Tate - Notre Dame
Arrelious Benn - Illinois
Jordan Shipley - Texas
Demariyus Thomas - Georgia Tech
Mardy Gilyard - Cincinnati
Mike Williams - Syracuse
Dezmon Briscoe - Kansas
Eric Decker - Minnesota
Taylor Price - Ohio
Jacoby Ford - Clemson
Riley Cooper - Florida
Randy Moss - 33 in 2010, last year of contract
Wes Welker - probably will start 2010 on PUP, 29 in 2010
Julian Edelman - 24 in 2010, will likely assume slot role for Welker
Brandon Tate - 23 in 2010, coming off another knee injury, kick returner
Sam Aiken - 30 in 2010, best used on ST
Matt Slater - 25 in 2010, will he still be on team?, STer like Aiken
Isaiah Stanback - 26 in 2010, QB to WR conversion
Darnell Jenkins - 28 in 2010, practice squad in 09
I'm sure we'd all like to see someone of Brandon Marshall's or Vincent Jackson's talent level added at WR, but the chances of that happening are slim. I could maybe see a guy like Antonio Bryant brought in, but again I have my doubts.
I think our biggest need at WR is someone to line up out wide opposite Moss. A physical WR who can work the intermediate zone of the field and go over the middle with good speed and reliable hands. I have high hopes for Tate, but he cannot be counted on. Stanback, Aiken, and Slater are all more a part of the problem than the solution. Edelman will make a good replacement for Welker in the slot as Wes rehabs the knee.
My plan is to keep Moss for the final year of his contract and draft a replacement for him in the 2011 draft. AJ Green, Jonathan Baldwin, Julio Jones, and Michael Floyd will all likely be available in the 2011 draft, in which we have 2 first round picks. All 4 of them are potential gamebreakers at WR who will be able to replace Moss' big play ability. Currently my two favorite are Green and Baldwin.
For the spot opposite Moss, I would like to see us use a 2nd rounder to acquire a WR in one of two ways:
1. I would be in favor of trading 2nd rounder for Anquan Boldin. I love his playing style and I think he is just what we need. He is the perfect #2 WR to be used in the intermediate passing game. He is fearless going over the middle, has reliable hands, plays with a lot of passion and with a chip on his shoulder, breaks a lot of tackles, and is only due 3 million in 2010. The issue with trading for him is that he has been banged up over the last couple of years and is going to want an extension, as his contract runs out after 2010.
2. I would like to see us use one of our 2nd rounders on a WR. Some guys that are possibly projected to go in the 2nd round are Golden Tate, Brandon Lafell, Jordan Shipley, Damian Williams, and Arrelious Benn. The two guys that I am most intrigued by are Tate and Benn.
Tate played under Weis at Notre Dame and had a great season. He's great in the open field at making people miss and picking up YAC. He's not that explosive off the line but when he gets going he's got pretty good speed. Reliable hands, good route runner, can make catches in traffic and go deep. He's listed at 5'11 and reminds me of Greg Jennings when thinking of an NFL comparison. Dangerous weapon in the open field once you get the ball in his hands, good route runner, good hands. He can also help on special teams as a KR and PR
Benn is quickly becoming my #1 WR prospect for the Pats. He is in the 6'1 to 6'2 range and is a physical WR with great speed. He has a similar type of game to Andre Johnson where he can get behind the defense and also go over the middle and operate well in traffic. He's dangerous with the ball in his hands and breaks tackles, has a quick burst off the LOS, and can also contribute as a KR and PR
, as he did both in college. He has a secure set of hands and can go up and win jump balls. He had a down year due to an injured ankle and poor team play, so his draft stock has fallen. The negative is that he played in a spread offense in college, but so have guys like Crabtree, Harvin, and Maclin, and they've all come in and made immediate impacts. I think Benn is the guy we've been looking for to both stretch the field and work the intermediate passing game, something we were hoping Chad Jackson would do.
If we do not use a 2nd rounder to get a WR and don't want to give a decent contract to a guy like Bryant, I'd like to see Stallworth or Branch brought back if they're cut. I think Stallworth would come pretty cheap. But who knows if we would want to bring back as some people like to say "Meion" Branch who shot his way out of town or a guy that killed someone while driving drunk.
Going into 2010 our top WRs would be:
Wes Welker (PUP)
Boldin(if extended)/Benn/Golden Tate/Stallworth/Branch
My personal preference is to add Boldin or Benn/Tate as opposed to adding a Stallworth or Branch, especially with Welker's status up in the air. A player of Boldin or Benn's caliber would take some heat off Moss and give Brady a legitimate 3rd receiving option.
What are your thoughts on how we should address the need WR? Any players you specifically like/don't like? Which way should we go about acquiring one? What do you think the Pats will most likely do?