Thursday, March 14, 2013
WR snapshot: Six under contract
By Field Yates
With Danny Amendola now signed, the Patriots have a total of six wide receivers under contract through at least 2013. That includes Matthew Slater, who is primarily a special-teams contributor, as well as Brandon Lloyd, a possible cap casualty with a roster bonus due in the coming days.
The team could also be in the market to add more bodies to the receiving core, as free agent Donald Jones is in town today for a visit.
For now, let's take a snapshot of the Patriots' receivers, with a little bit of information on what each player offers.
1. Danny Amendola. The newest Patriot projects to have a role comparable to Wes Welker's in New England, as he has the skills to play in the slot and can align as a flanker or "Z" receiver.
2. Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd served as an "X" or split-end receiver in the Patriots' offense last season, working primarily on the perimeter (the team occasionally used him on interior receiver screens). If the team picks up his roster bonus due this week, that's an indication he'll stick around through at least 2013.
3. Matthew Slater. The drop-off comes here, as Slater is a limited receiver who can work from a "Z" alignment. He's at his best running down the field vertically, though he likely won't play a big role on offense in 2013.
4. Jeremy Ebert. The 2012 seventh-round draft pick was limited in training camp due to injury and eventually waived. He signed back on with the team and should have a chance to compete as a "Z" this offseason.
5. Kamar Aiken. We didn't see much of Aiken once he was signed to the team's practice squad, but he has the frame to project as an "X" receiver.
6. Andre Holmes. We know this much about Holmes: he's long and fast, and that's something the Patriots don't have much of in their receiver group right now. He's built like an "X" and is a player we look forward to seeing on the field.
Remaining free agents:Julian Edelman, Deion Branch, Donte' Stallworth. Edelman is the player to watch most closely in free agency, as he'd be a quality re-signing for the team. He has good versatility and athleticism, and was playing the best football of his career prior to a season-ending injury in December.