How many years in a row were the Patriots linked to Larry Fitzgerald? Felt like about 10.
Fitz has since been replaced by A.J. Green. Both men stand apart from the rest as “The receiver who will change everything for the Patriots’ offense if they can go and get him …” but they are not alone.
Whether it’s pre-draft, end of training camp or trade deadline, Patriots fans – and media – break out the NFL Wideout Wishbook, lie on their stomachs and let their imagination roam.
With the trade deadline bearing down a week from Tuesday, we are back at it again. With Julian Edelman all banged up and N’Keal Harry continuing to gestate, the Patriots’ best wide receiver currently is Damiere Byrd.
So they need help there. One name we haven’t often dialed in on is Marvin Jones. The Detroit Lions wideout is in the last year of his deal. He’ll be 31 in March. He’s got 12 catches in five games. He’s playing on a $6.5M salary this year. He can still play. He’s not in the Fitz, A.J. Green or Julio Jones mold but the Emmanuel Sanders-level player? Certainly.
One interesting piece of it is what the Lions might look for in return. The comp, sadly, is Mohamed Sanu and the Patriots obvious overpay for Sanu last season (a second-rounder) could be an albatross. One qualifier? Sanu was not an expiring contract.
Will the Patriots be buyers or sellers at this trade deadline? We’ve talked about it a dozen times this week. To me, the Patriots HAVE to add at wide receiver. Period. Not merely to try and win the division or get to a Super Bowl but to remain competitive on Sundays. They don’t have enough players at the spot and – with just $5.5M allocated to the salaries of Edelman, Harry and Byrd – they’re getting about what they paid for.
Speed, as we’ve noted many times this season, is a huge issue.
"It's the worst group of skill players in the NFL, and you should probably put skill players in quotes," one NFL executive who has faced the Patriots this year told CBSSports.com’s Jason Lacanfora. "That has to be the slowest offense in the league."
A player like Jones isn’t a cure-all. But any wide receiver at this point is a must-have. Jones and the Lions are at the 1-5 Falcons at 1 p.m. on Sunday.