With Wes Welker agreeing to a two-year deal with the Broncos, the question is how do the Patriots reshape their receiving corps?
The initial thought is that someone like Rams receiver Danny Amendola (5-11, 188), who has been compared to Welker (5-9, 185) in terms of style of play, could become a free-agent target. The 27-year-old Amendola has a little bit of a background with Patriots coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was with the Rams in 2011, a year in which Amendola was limited to one game because of an elbow injury. If there is a knock on Amendola, that’s the biggie – injuries. No one is saying he is Welker, but he could potentially fill some of what Welker did.
Amendola for Welker would be part of a one-for-one type of exchange, as could a potential re-signing of Julian Edelman, but there is also the thought that the Patriots could revamp their attack and have more of the interior passing game run through tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez while targeting more help at the outside receiver spots.
One thing is clear: What the Patriots currently have on the roster isn’t going to be enough.
Not including special teams captain Matthew Slater, they currently have four receivers under contract -- veteran Brandon Lloyd and the little-known unproven trio of Kamar Aiken, Jeremy Ebert and Andre Holmes.
And with Lloyd due a $3 million bonus over the weekend, there is a strong possibility that he won’t even be on the roster.
So even had Welker re-signed, the Patriots were going to be looking closely at additions at the position, and those could come in the draft (where analysts say the value is near the end of the first round into the middle rounds) or free agency (where there is no shortage of quality options).
Bill Belichick and his staff hasn’t had great success developing receivers through the draft, which adds another layer to an unsettled area on the roster.