By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Bill Belichick has created the same tough decision for himself that he had when the Patriots signed Antonio Brown. In fact, it’s even tougher now.
The Pats are reportedly acquiring wide receiver Mohamed Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons, giving Tom Brady another weapon who can catch passes over the middle of the field and adding more depth to a position group in flux. But now, with Sanu in tow and rookie N’Keal Harry on track to return as early as Week 9, the Patriots suddenly have perhaps too much depth there.
Is someone going to have to go?
Assuming health, the Pats now have seven wide receivers worth carrying on the 53-man roster: Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, Harry, and Sanu. It wouldn’t be impossible to keep all seven, but carrying even six of them on active rosters seems superfluous. It would be rare for Belichick to dress that many guys at that position. If you count special teamer Matthew Slater, the number is eight.
After acquiring Brown, it left Meyers on the inactive list in Week 2 at the Dolphins. Even then, with no Harry, the Pats carried only five receivers for the offense. Now the position is even deeper. It’s obviously a fantastic problem to have.
Sanu’s arrival could be an ominous sign for either Harry, whom the Patriots can either activate or keep on injured reserve. They have until Nov. 4 to make that decision, since he returned to practice on Oct. 15. But it would be hard to believe, although not unprecedented, that the Pats would waste an IR return designation on a player that doesn’t end up playing.
It could also be a bad sign for Gordon, who missed Monday’s win over the Jets with knee and ankle injuries and could be in danger of missing Sunday’s game against the Browns.
It certainly doesn’t hurt to have depth at a position where you’ve dealt with numerous injuries and lack long-term certainty compared to others. Maybe they make two receivers inactive every week and none of this matters. The flexibility can’t possibly hurt.
But if all seven receivers are healthy, do the Patriots really intend to keep all of them on the roster? It will be intriguing to see the corresponding roster move with the Sanu acquisition, as well as how Gordon and Harry’s health situations play out from here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.