New England Patriots

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The wide receiver market may have thinned out a bit, but Bill Belichick apparently still wants to go for one of the last remaining big fish.

Evan Lazar of CLNS Media reported on Tuesday that the Patriots head coach is “ready to be a big spender in free agency,” with a focus on wide receiver. The Pats clearly need reinforcements at that position, with Julian Edelman going on 35 years old and N’Keal Harry looking like he’ll never live up to the promise of a first-round pick. So it certainly wouldn’t be a shock if the various reporting on the Patriots’ plans came to fruition.

Complicating matters is that the free-agent receiver market shed some serious talent on Tuesday, when some of the top names at the position received the franchise tag. Among those tagged were the Bears’ Allen Robinson and the Bucs’ Chris Godwin, peeling arguably the two biggest names off the list.

There will still be several established receivers available in free agency, which officially begins next Wednesday, March 17. But the best name available may not be interested in the Patriots: Kenny Golladay doesn’t want to “go to a program like the one he was in” with the 2020 Lions, according to Albert Breer. So the odds seem extremely low that he’d want to come to the Patriots, where his former coach Matt Patricia now works as a special assistant to Belichick.

That leaves Belichick with talented but imperfect options at receiver, at least if his goal is to land a clear No. 1. The Titans’ Corey Davis and the Chiefs’ Sammy Watkins are former top-10 draft picks who have flashed that kind of ability over their careers, but at this point seem to be complementary No. 2 wideouts at best. The Panthers’ Curtis Samuel fits well as a receiver who can line up all over the field and make plays in space, but he may never be a true No. 1.

If Belichick truly wants to spend big at the position, those appear to be his best options at this stage. There will also be strong options available at tight end too, though, like Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Read below for more of the Patriots’ best free-agent options for the offense.

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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 mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.