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Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Exploring Jason Avant as a possible fit

By Mike Reiss

With the Philadelphia Eagles releasing veteran receiver Jason Avant on Tuesday, a few tweets were sent this way inquiring about the possibility of the New England Patriots signing him.

In theory, a sure-handed, physical veteran receiver would fit well with what the Patriots currently have at the position (a lot of youth). Avant is also considered a good locker-room presence.

Still, I had a few questions about the 6-foot, 212-pound Avant, so after reading ESPN.com Eagles reporter Phil Sheridan's analysis, I reached out to Sheridan for more.

Can Avant still play? How much of a presence is he on special teams?

Sheridan's reply:

"Yes, I think Avant can still help a team. He's not a speedster, but he never was. He'll be 31, but he's one of those guys that takes great care of himself. He had arguably the best hands on the Eagles for the past few seasons," Sheridan wrote.

"He's a sneaky route runner and very good possession guy. He's willing to do the dirty work, blocking on run plays and bubble screens. And yes, he does play special teams. One of the most terrific plays in recent Eagles history -- DeSean Jackson's game-winning punt return against the Giants at the Meadowlands in 2010 -- was made possible because Avant decleated Zak DeOssie with a block.

"Great guy, good locker room leader. I'd expect him to play another couple years, at least."

Another benefit to a possible signing of Avant is that Avant wouldn't count against the compensatory draft pick formula.