The Patriots have plenty of free-agent wide receivers and tight ends to choose from, if they decide to upgrade the offense that way.
Bill Belichick’s big problem is that wide receivers always get among the most lucrative free-agent contracts in the NFL, regardless of position. The Patriots have never spent big at the position, but have a reasonably successful track record of identifying players on lower-level deals that outperform their value at the time of signing.
It’s more likely that you see Belichick make a signing along the lines of Danny Amendola, who was a bit of a surprise at the time but earned every penny of his five-year, $31 million contract with clutch playoff performances. Expect another team to take the plunge with Allen Robinson and other big names in the $20 million range annually.
But if Belichick decides to throw a massive curveball and make an aggressive move to add high-end talent at receiver or tight end, there are some ideal choices out there.
Otherwise, expect more signings in the middle tiers. Such players may not be instant difference-makers, but they could pan out in unexpected ways like Amendola, Brandon LaFell, and others have over the years.
Belichick’s history suggests that if he wants to add a premium talent at receiver or tight end, he’ll trade a first-round pick for someone on his rookie contract. Think Brandin Cooks in 2017. So don’t hold your breath for a top-of-the-market signing among the free-agent receivers and tight ends. But the potential is there for a more affordable signing with a big payoff.
Check out our picks for the top free agent receivers and tight ends for the 2021 Patriots, ranging from a few big names to low-risk, high-reward signings.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster 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 and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.