Sunday 7: Tom Brady’s offseason plans should be factored into what Patriots do at wide receiver

Ryan Hannable
March 24, 2019 - 6:00 am

1. Given what the Patriots currently have at wide receiver, it is pretty clear a few more players will be added in the coming weeks and months via free agency and the draft. Right now, the depth chart has Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Braxton Berrios, Maurice Harris, Bruce Ellington, Matthew Slater and Damoun Patterson. A No. 2/3 receiver needs to be added, and the team should be cautious of doing this via the draft. No. 1, the team hasn’t had a great deal of success in selecting receivers, but also because of Tom Brady’s offseason plans. The quarterback missed OTAs last year to spend more time with his family, and while nothing has officially been determined, it would seem to make sense he will do the same thing again this offseason. It’s been well-documented how tough the Patriots offense is to learn, and it would be even more difficult for a rookie who doesn’t get to spend much time with the quarterback until late July when training camp opens. This is why it would make more sense to have this No. 2/3 receiver come with prior NFL experience. Clearly, most of the top wide outs are off the market, so a trade may be the best route. This isn’t to say the Patriots shouldn’t draft a receiver, as they need to get younger at the position, but with Brady not being around as much during the offseason, it would be tough to rely on a rookie to immediately step in and be a No. 2 receiver in the Patriots’ system.

2. Free agency won’t be the biggest thing on NFL team’s agendas this week, as the owners meetings will get underway Sunday in Phoenix. Robert Kraft’s legal case will obviously be a major topic, and the expectation is he will not meet with the media, especially following his statement on Saturday, although other owners may get asked about potential disicipline. The coaches breakfasts have been combined into one this year, and it will be Tuesday morning. If Bill Belichick speaks (which nothing suggests he won’t), it will be his first remarks since the day after the Super Bowl. From a football perspective, major topics likely to be asked are Brady not yet getting an extension, Rob Gronkowski’s status, and the team’s overall lack of moves during the first wave of free agency.

3. Four members of the Patriots were at the state house Friday morning to promote Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz’s education bill, the PROMISE Act. Devin and Jason McCourty, Duron Harmon and Matthew Slater are all members of the advocacy group Players Coalition. Harmon urged the committee to look into having more resources at low-income schools to help children prepare for the work force rather than police officers to patrol the halls. “Being arrested, suspended, is not always the answer," Harmon said. "Is it the easiest? Yes, but the easiest way is not always the best way.”

4. The more and more Adam Humphries discusses signing with the Titans and the Patriots making a late offer, the more and more it seems like the Patriots really wanted him, and it was a tough choice for the slot receiver, but he stuck to his word and signed with Tennessee. He reportedly signed a four-year, $36 million deal with the Titans, and while it’s been said the Patriots offered more money, it’s worth noting he’s getting the majority of his money in the next two years with the Titans. It’s not known how the Patriots had the money structured in their offer.

5. Even with the Patriots’ lack of moves this offseason, it’s not like any of the other top AFC teams made huge splashes, either. Pittsburgh and Kansas City, two of the other top teams in the AFC, arguably got worse, not better this offseason. While everyone knows by now no games are won in March, it’s still worth pointing out. As it relates to the AFC East, the Jets certainly got better and will likely be the Patriots’ top competition within the division.

6. There are a number of special teams players on the Patriots roster, more so than usual, even. This could lead to some core special teamers potentially being released at the start of the season to potentially save some money against the cap.  Some players to keep an eye on are Nate Ebner (would save just over $2 million) and Brandon King (would save just over $1 million). The Terrence Brooks signing really stood out in the fact that one or more core Patriots special teams players from the past few years could potentially be let go.

7. This is the last big week of pro days. Here’s the major colleges on the schedule: Iowa (Monday), Texas Tech (Monday), Duke (Tuesday), Florida (Wednesday), UConn (Wednesday), Florida State (Thursday), Virginia Tech (Friday). If we had to guess, Belichick won’t be at any of these and he will rely on the scouting staff.

Related: Robert Kraft releases statement on solicitation charges: ‘I am truly sorry’