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What reported signing of WR Kenny Britt means for Patriots, Malcolm Mitchell

Ryan Hannable
December 12, 2017 - 10:03 pm

A day after falling to the Dolphins 27-20, the Patriots apparently have made a move to upgrade their depth at receiver.

According to multiple reports, the Patriots will sign former Browns wide out Kenny Britt to a two-year deal after he was released last week. The move wasn't on the NFL transaction wire Tuesday, but will likely become official on Wednesday. Britt played at Rutgers with a few current members of the team.

First off, the team will need to release a player to make room for Britt on the roster. It would seem likely the team would move on from a receiver, so either Bernard Reedy or Phillip Dorsett. Dorsett hasn't had much of a role of late, but the team did give up Jacoby Brissett for him and he's signed through next season, so it may be too early to give up on him. Reedy seems more likely, as he's only returned a few punts and with the games being more important down the stretch, the more and more we will see Danny Amendola in this role.

It also could signify Malcolm Mitchell will not be coming off injured reserve this season. The two do most of their work on the outside, so if Mitchell were close to returning, it wouldn't really make much sense to sign Britt. There was some hope Mitchell would return, as he's been seen in the locker room more lately, but it just doesn't seem like his knee responded like he would have hoped.

So why the need for Britt?

In Monday's loss, the Patriots struggled to create separation and make plays outside the numbers. Britt, who stands 6-foot-3, would be the biggest Patriots receiver and seem to give Tom Brady a top target to throw to on the outside. Britt played nine games this season with the Browns, tallying 18 catches for 233 yards and two touchdowns. That marked a big drop off from his career season in 2016 with the Rams, when he hauled in 68 receptions for 1,002 yards and five touchdowns.

The 29-year-old has been arrested twice, including once for getting into a car chase with police, but he appears to have straightened himself out.

The timing is similar to last year when the Patriots added Michael Floyd. It's really a no lose situation because if Britt can help then great, but if not, the team can just make him inactive like they did with Floyd during the postseason last year. Britt will use the next few weeks to get acclimated to things and see what he can do with Brady before the team sees what it has going into the playoffs.