New England Patriots

(Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports)

It’s time to add another name to the list of wide receivers the Patriots could target in free agency. As first reported by Adam Schefter on Wednesday morning, the New Orleans Saints have released Emmanuel Sanders, who is now eligible to sign immediately.

Sanders has been linked to the Patriots multiple times in the past. When he was a restricted free agent with the Pittsburgh in 2013 the Patriots attempted to sign him, but their offer was matched by the Steelers. His name came up again at the 2019 deadline, but the Patriots instead traded for Mohamed Sanu, who had an extra year on his deal at the time. Sanders ended up with the eventual NFC champion San Francisco 49ers.

After his stop with the Niners, Sanders joined the Saints for the 2020 season. Despite inconsistent quarterback play, he posted a 61-catch, 726-yard, five-touchdown season in 14 games.

Now back on the open market, the Patriots could look to Sanders to add a much-needed speed element to their offense. He turns 34 next week, and isn’t quite the same player he was the Patriots first tried to sign him in 2013, but he can still contribute, If the Patriots were to bring him in as a secondary addition, after signing one or two more complete pass catchers such as Corey Davis and/or Hunter Henry, he could carve out a valuable role in the offense.

MORE: Free agent pass catchers available for the Patriots

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Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.