New England Patriots

The Patriots worked out free-agent wide receiver Kendall Wright this week, in addition to seven other players at wideout, running back, defensive back, and linebacker. ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported the list of workouts on Wednesday.

Other players who worked out for the Pats this week include:

WR Brandon Reilly
RB Kenjon Barner
RB Matthew Dayes
RB Aaron Ripkowski
LB Martrell Spaight
LB Anthony Winbush
DB Quin Blanding

Reiss described these workouts as a matter of “exploring options and updating emergency lists,” rather than imminent signings or players expected to become major contributors. Wright, however, carries some perhaps untapped potential as a receiver for a team in need of depth and production at the position.

Wright, 28, has mostly failed so far to live up to his first-round draft status since the Tennessee Titans took him 20th overall in 2012 – just one pick before the Patriots drafted Chandler Jones. Wright looked like he could be on his way to establishing himself as a premier slot receiver when he made 94 catches for 1,079 yards and two touchdowns as a 24-year-old in 2013.

But since then, Wright’s production has dropped off. He landed with the Chicago Bears in 2017, making 59 catches for 614 yards and a touchdown. He spent 2018 training camp with the Minnesota Vikings, but couldn’t crack a crowded receiver depth chart that includes Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and 2016 first-round pick Laquon Treadwell. The Vikings released him during final roster cutdowns on Sept. 1.

Wright may still have unrealized upside as an inside receiver. It doesn’t help that he’s dealt with instability in terms of both coaches and quarterbacks in Tennessee and Chicago. If he joined the Patriots, he’d obviously have by far the best quarterback he’s ever had throwing him the ball in Tom Brady. But at this point, it appears that the Patriots would only sign him in some kind of emergency situation.

The Patriots enter Sunday’s season opener against the Houston Texans with four full-time receivers. One of them, Chad Hansen, was just claimed off waivers on Sunday. The others are Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, and Cordarrelle Patterson – none of which would qualify as a traditional slot receiver.

It’s clear that the Patriots are seeking plan Bs and plan Cs at receiver, linebacker, and running back ahead of the start of the season. But among them all, Wright is certainly the one to watch the most.

— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.


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