Patriots Should Reunite With Jabar Gaffney to Intensify Training Camp Competition Among Wide Receivers

Patriots Should Reunite With Jabar Gaffney to Intensify Training Camp Competition Among Wide ReceiversFOXBORO, Mass. — Patriots head coach Bill Belichick decided earlier this offseason that he'd set up a tremendous training camp competition at the wide receiver position.

It's time to throw another one into the ring.

The Redskins have reportedly released Jabar Gaffney, who was the ultimate role player for the Patriots from 2006-08. He could fit that exact mold again in 2012 if the Patriots decide to reunite with Gaffney, assuming he makes the team, which would be likely.

Sure, the Patriots already have way too many wideouts on the roster, but that's clearly been the intention. Belichick isn't worried about hurting the feelings of an experienced veteran because the message has been clear — they want a depth chart full of reliable, smart receivers who can keep pace with Brady.

Gaffney was among the Patriots' array of castoffs they acquired in 2006, when they scrambled to recover from the losses of Deion Branch and David Givens, and the Florida product blossomed.

Gaffney exploded in his first postseason, catching 21 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns in three games, and he proceeded to capture his role as a utility receiver when Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Donte Stallworth showed up in 2007.

The Patriots wanted to keep Gaffney around longer, but Josh McDaniels bowled him over with a four-year, $10 million deal after taking over as the Broncos' head coach in 2009. The two sides shook hands and parted ways.

Now, they've got a chance to make it work again. Gaffney isn't a diva who needs to be on the field all the time. He'll master his role, block when called upon and, of course, stay in sync with Brady. Gaffney's still got it, too, catching a career-high 68 passes for 947 yards and five touchdowns last season with the Redskins, whose quarterback issues weren't exactly conducive to gaudy stats.

So it's worth another shot, unless another a team steps in and overwhelms Gaffney with a big deal again. Gaffney would join a group of receivers that includes Welker, Branch, Brandon Lloyd, Stallworth, Matt Slater, Julian Edelman, Chad Ochocinco, Anthony Gonzalez and others.

They won't all be around for the start of the 2012 season, but that's how things go down with so many high-profile names gearing up for a great camp competition. The Patriots should add Gaffney to that list.

Photo via Flickr/Keith Allison

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