The Patriots have brought aboard another big body at wide receiver. Dontrelle Inman, who spent last season with the Colts, was signed to a one-year deal on Friday.
The news was first reported by Ian Rapoport. I did some checking to make sure Ian wasn’t lying. He wasn’t.
What are the Patriots potentially getting in the 30-year-old? A 6-3, 205-pounder who was at his best for the Chargers in 2016 when he had 58 catches for 810 yards and four scores.
After getting boxed out on the Chargers depth chart in 2017 by Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin and rookie Mike Williams, Inman was traded to the receiver-needy Bears in October of that year. He languished with Mitch Trubisky as his quarterback during the tail end of Trubisky’s rookie year. He wound up with 25 catches in eight games for the Bears.
Inman spent 2018 in Indianapolis and was pretty productive on a per-game basis with 28 catches (on 39 targets) in nine games.
Inman isn’t blazing fast and he’s not exceptionally strong (he had 11 reps on the bench at his Pro Day when he came out of Virginia in 2010).
Back in 2017, this was the detailed scouting report an AFC West scout gave Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune when the Bears acquired him:
“Good size,” the scout said. “He was hurt in training camp so he didn’t do much at all this year. Solid. Reliable. Dependable. He’s realistically a fourth (wide receiver), a teams guy. But considering their depth, gosh he’s better than (Josh) Bellamy. He’s better than better Tre (McBride). Kendall Wright is obviously more talented but it’s a trade that works for both ends in an ideal world. His reps were declining even more with Mike Williams coming back in the mix now. Travis Benjamin making some plays.
“He’s not going to wow you. In an ideal world, like I said, he’s probably a fourth. In their situation, he’s going to climb up the chart. I like the (Tanner) Gentry kid. I think they need to keep that guy. Off the preseason tape, I thought there was some stuff to him. It takes time. They’ve got a young quarterback and they need to find a guy for him to develop a relationship with. We’ll see. They’re hurting so bad. I don’t know what the market looks like on teams’ practice squads right now. So the trade works for both.”
Inman also played in the CFL and won a Grey Cup with the Toronto Argonauts. So he’s well-traveled, well thought-of and versatile. Realistically, he could be a Chris Hogan-level player for the Patriots, which is to say useful at times but not jaw-dropping.
With the addition of N’Keal Harry during the draft and the release of Bruce Ellington earlier in the week, the Patriots receiver corps is Julian Edelman, Phillip Dorsett, Demaryius Thomas, Maurice Harris, Harry and Inman. Second-year player Braxton Berrios, rookies Jakobi Myers, Xavier Ubosi, Damoun Patterson and Ryan Davis round out the other hopefuls. Suspended wideout Josh Gordon may also be in the mix at some point but that figures to be a very involved process.
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