FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots didn't bring Torry Holt to New England with the expectations that he'd look like the wide receiver who dominated the league earlier in this decade. More realistically, the Pats needed to add more depth to a receiving corps that will work to get by while Wes Welker recovers from knee and shoulder injuries.
Holt and the Patriots agreed to a one-year deal reportedly worth $1.7 million on Tuesday. The 6-foot, 190-pounder turns 34 in June, and he is coming off his lone season in Jacksonville, where he caught 51 passes for 722 yards. While each of those statistics were career lows, keep in mind he played in a run-first offensive system, and David Garrard was the guy distributing the ball through the air.
Expect Welker to begin the 2010 regular season on the physically unable to perform list, which will keep him on the sideline for at least six weeks. In the meantime, Tom Brady will be working with wide receivers Randy Moss, Julian Edelman, Sam Aiken, David Patten, Brandon Tate and Isaiah Stanback. (Moss, Edelman, Aiken and Holt should be considered locks to make the team, while Patten, Tate, Stanback and any draft picks will be in a battle for the final one or two spots at that position.)
It's natural to have hesitant feelings of this move because it's eerily reminiscent of the 2009 signing of Joey Galloway, who was as useful as a pen without ink. Yet Holt is a character guy — there were conflicting opinions of Galloway's locker-room personality — who can still run good routes. Expect him to work hard to get on the same page with Brady, Moss and the rest of the receivers.
Holt can line up in the slot if need be, but he'll probably spend the majority of his time on the outside, opposite of an oft-double-teamed Moss. For this to be a successful signing, Holt will need to take advantage of single coverages and read defenses on a consistent level with Brady. That's what Galloway was unable to do last season, but Holt — a potential Hall of Famer — should be capable in that role.