Thoughts on the Patriots' signing of receiver Austin Collie, first reported by colleague Field Yates:
1. Banged up at receiver. Four of the team's six receivers are on the injury report: Danny Amendola (groin), special-teams captain Matthew Slater (wrist), and rookies Kenbrell Thompkins (shoulder) and Aaron Dobson (neck). Collie adds depth, is considered a smart and instinctive player, and has played in a Colts offense that has similar concepts to what the Patriots run. That should help in the challenging transition of joining a new offense.
2. Concussion history part of the story. If not for Collie's scary history with concussions, it's hard to imagine that he'd be available. He's a talented player but durability is the big concern. In June, Collie told USA Today that he needed closure and was willing to sign a waiver with any team concerned about his history with concussions. He spent training camp with the 49ers but was let go as rosters were trimmed to 53. Several teams have brought him in for workouts this year, including the Patriots.
3. More than just a slot receiver. Sometimes it's easy to pigeonhole receivers as slot guys, which was a perception that Wes Welker battled at times with the Patriots (2007-12) even though he lined up on the outside. Collie (6-foot-0, 204 pounds) can be put in the same category as an inside-outside target. While he did some of his best work from the slot with the Colts, he also lined up on the outside and has deceptive speed as a threat to work the short and intermediate areas of the field. The Patriots like their receivers to play all the spots, and Collie has done so.
4. Little connection to Amendola. While there is a temptation to think that perhaps Collie's addition is tied to Amendola needing more time to recover from injury, that's not the sense we get. Amendola, it seems, is closing in on a return.
5. Has played in big games. If Collie stays healthy, and the 4-0 Patriots continue on a collision course with the AFC's top teams, it never hurts to have players on the roster who have been part of some big-time games. The Patriots have 13 rookies on their 53-man roster. That also could be part of the team's thinking with Collie. There is likely little financial risk for the club in making the move.