The NFL’s legal tampering period begins Monday at 12 p.m. ET where free agents can talk to any team about potential signings. The NFL offseason has already been filled with splashes and at this time last year, the New England Patriots have made a lot of noise with their checkbooks.
Will they do it again? Probably not — given their cap space and pending free agents, the draft will be a major focus in acquiring talent. However, the Patriots can still improve the roster with a couple of signings this week. Here’s who could be on the team’s radar.
Patriots’ Wide Receiver Options
Big Outside Threats
A.J. Green ($5-7 million per year)
See offseason plan
D.J. Chark ($8-12 million per year)
Chark offers the most upside at the Patriots finding a “number one wide receiver”. Chark, 25, gives the Patriots their need of size and speed on the outside, 6’4″ with a 4.3 40 time. Chark put up two strong seasons before injuring his ankle last year, recording 1,714 yards and 13 touchdowns in two years. Chark has also been unlucky with subpar quarterback play. His role could thrive with Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers, and Hunter Henry threatening the middle of the field, leaving Chark to burn on the outside.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling ($9-10 million per year)
MVS is an interesting option. His big play ability is always there, averaging 17.5 yards per catch in his career. However, the production level is low, Valdes-Scantling has never had a season with over 38 catches or 700 yards. It is best for New England to look elsewhere for a receiver upgrade over Nelson Agholor.
Patriots’ Slot Options
Jamison Crowder ($3-4 million per year)
While Crowder doesn’t light up the stat-sheet, his play works with any quarterback. No matter who is under center, Crowder continues to command a high target share with few drops (only five drops in his last 160 targets). At his price, Crowder is well worth his reliability.
Braxton Berrios ($3-4 million per year)
Another slot receiver from New York and a low level reunion in Foxboro. Berrios would essentially play as an upgrade over Gunner Olszewski. Gunner’s drop in return production with little improvement as a receiver makes it hard for him to return to the Patriots. Berrios, however, is the one who got away from Bill Belichick as his play is starting to come to form. Berrios was named first team all pro, averaging 30.4 yards per return, setting career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns.
Cedrick Wilson Jr. ($5-6 million per year)
Wilson stepped up big time for Dallas when Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper missed time in 2021. His 130.6 passer rating when targeted was one of the best in the NFL (sixth) with only three drops on 61 catches. Wilson brings size and quickness after the catch and could become a pleasant surprise for whoever signs him.
Jarvis Landry (If Cut)
Landry is a potential cut candidate for Cleveland following the Amari Cooper trade. Landry’s name has been brought up often in trade rumors for the Patriots. A tough, dependable, veteran slot option who has been targeted a ridiculous 1,045 times in his eight-year career. If Landry is on the market, his star power is enticing.
Jewell could be a potential Bentley replacement if he walks. Although he plays primarily as an off-ball linebacker, his athleticism is not an upgrade. At his price, tackling, and coverage ability, Jewell is a solid option for depth.
It will be interesting to see what New England does at linebacker. They have to get faster, names like Hightower, Van Noy, Collins, and Bentley could all be gone. Young guys like Ronnie Perkins, Camerone McGrone, Raekwon McMillan could fill in quickly. It is likely the Patriots look to the draft rather than free agency here.
Oluokun has been a tackling machine for Atlanta: 309 tackles in his past two seasons. While Oluokun is undersized for Bill Belichick’s liking, he plays fast, contributes against the run, and freely plays in multiple spots. The price and freelancing may be too steep for the Patriots, but certainly brings an exciting upside.
Not much explanation needed here. Bobby Wagner is one of, if not, the best linebacker in the NFL at 31. This would be a dream signing here, no weaknesses whatsoever.
See Offseason Plan
The Patriots need to improve their run defense and SJD is the ultimate run stuffer. That is mainly what he would be doing in Foxboro, but that would not go unnoticed.
Like SJD, Hill comes in to stop the run. The Patriots need it badly on the interior. Christian Barmore covers New England when it comes to getting to the Quarterback
- Kyle Fuller
- Jason Verrett
- Ahkello Witherspoon
See Offseason Plan
Phil Perry introduced this idea earlier in the week. Averett stepped up for Baltimore, allowing a 77.5 passer rating, 55.4% completion percentage, with three picks in 2021. An Alabama product with man-to-man experience, Averett fits a similar mold of the players mentioned above