By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The NFL trade deadline may be in the rearview mirror, but the Patriots have already proved willing to add via the post-deadline waiver market. And they have an opportunity to do so at the wide receiver position.
Niners wideout Dante Pettis tops the list of flyers the Patriots could take with the deadline passed. The 49ers waived Pettis on Tuesday, likely ending his stint with the team after drafting him in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. After the Niners drafted wideouts Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk in 2019 and 2020, Pettis no longer appears to be part of their long-term plans on offense.
Pettis has decent size at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds and can play over the middle of the field, which would play into Cam Newton’s strengths as a passer if the Pats took a chance on him. The Patriots may have made their one move at receiver on Tuesday when they acquired Isaiah Ford from the Dolphins. But Pettis would certainly offer more in terms of physical gifts and upside.
For a 2-5 team hurting for bodies at the position, it couldn’t possibly hurt to bring Pettis in and see if they can get more out of him than San Francisco ever did. Not a safe bet, but a risk worth taking at this stage.
Two other interesting names shook loose among receivers in the past 24 hours. The Chicago Bears released veteran wide receiver Ted Ginn on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Ginn’s best NFL season came in 2015 with the Panthers and Newton, who won league MVP that year. Ginn was one of the league’s most dangerous big-play threats that season, catching 10 touchdowns and averaging 16.8 yards per catch.
At 35, Ginn likely couldn’t recapture that same magic. But Newton himself may like the move if the Pats made it. They can certainly learn a lot about Ginn from his former teammate before bringing him in.
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One more name to monitor: Tommylee Lewis, whom the Saints waived on Tuesday. You may recognize the name, because Lewis was the receiver who should have drawn a pass interference flag but didn’t in the infamous 2018 NFC Championship Game. He’s tiny at 5-foot-7 and 168 pounds, which has ostensibly limited his ability to produce at the NFL level. But the Patriots may like his quickness and versatility enough to give him a look.
It’s unlikely that any of these moves would transform the Patriots offense, certainly not overnight. But Pettis, in particular, should be a player that Belichick at least considers. Belichick is the best in the league at turning other team’s busts into successes in New England. Despite the team’s struggles to develop their own wide receivers, there’s always the chance that they tap into Pettis’ second-round potential.
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? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at email@example.com.