FOXBORO, Mass. — The New England Patriots took a risk Thursday by claiming wide receiver Michael Floyd off waivers.
Floyd was waived by the Arizona Cardinals on Wednesday after being arrested Monday on a DUI charge. Floyd also was arrested for DUI in college at Notre Dame.
But with risk comes potential reward in adding Floyd, who’s 6-foot-2, 220 pounds and was selected 13th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. He has 242 career receptions for 3,739 yards with 23 touchdowns in his five-year NFL career. His best season came in 2013, when he had 65 catches for 1,041 yards with five touchdowns.
Floyd, 27, has struggled this season, catching just 33 passes in 13 games and seven starts for 446 yards with four touchdowns.
The Patriots desperately needed depth at wide receiver after Danny Amendola went down for the rest of the regular season with a high ankle sprain. The Patriots were left with Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, rookie Malcolm Mitchell, special teams ace Matthew Slater and recently added Griff Whalen. The Patriots released Whalen to make room for Floyd
Players with Floyd’s size and athleticism are hard to come by. He ran a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2012. The Patriots haven’t drafted a wide receiver in the first round of the NFL draft since Bill Belichick became head coach in 2000 and rarely have a pick as high as No. 13 to grab someone like Floyd.
Floyd comes at a high cost. By claiming Floyd, the Patriots inherit his $1.29 million cap hit for the remaining three games of the 2016 regular season. He will count toward the Patriots’ compensatory draft pick formula, though, if they keep him for the rest of the season and he signs elsewhere as a free agent in the 2017 offseason.
Floyd played under former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis for two years at Notre Dame, so he has some experience in an offense similar to the one run by current Patriots OC Josh McDaniels.
Floyd might not contribute immediately for the Patriots, but if they like what he brings, they could retain him next season while his value as a free agent is at an all-time low. If he plays well for the Patriots and another team outbids them, then he would help New England’s comp pick formula.
The move comes with a stigma because of Floyd’s recent arrest. But they’ve had success resurrecting defensive tackle Alan Branch’s career under similar circumstances.
The Patriots have a solid foundation to their organization, and if Floyd can get back on track, he still has the potential to be a No. 1 “X” receiver in the NFL.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images