Reggie Wayne Among Five Potential Free-Agent Receivers For Patriots


March 3, 2015

It didn’t take much for New England Patriots fans to become giddy over the thought of Andre Johnson losing his job.

The receiver either will be cut or traded by the Houston Texans after refusing to take on a reduced role, The Houston Chronicle’s John McClain reported Monday night. Patriots fans have longed after Johnson for years, and now that he’s 33 years old and in the twilight of his career, he might finally be available.

Johnson would be a fine fit with the Patriots, but fans better know that they wouldn’t be getting Johnson circa 2009. They would be getting a player who just spent a year in Bill O’Brien’s offense and would likely be grateful at the shot to compete for a Super Bowl title.

If the Patriots can’t sign Johnson, here are some low-cost possibilities who will become free agents on March 10 at 4 p.m.:

Royal is coming off the second best season of his career, catching 62 passes for 778 yards with seven touchdowns. Royal was highly productive out of the slot for the San Diego Chargers last season, catching 69.7 percent of his targets.

Royal would be a solid option as the Patriots’ No. 3 receiver if Danny Amendola is cut as a salary-cap casualty. Royal probably would come cheaper than Amendola’s 2015 $5.7 million cap hit.

Douglas is another solid possibility if the Patriots cut Amendola, and he’ll likely come cheaper than Royal. Douglas caught 67.5 percent of his targets from the slot last season and totaled 51 receptions for 556 yards with two touchdowns.

The 30-year-old receiver spent his entire career with the Atlanta Falcons before being cut last week. He broke out in 2013 with 85 catches for 1,067 yards and two touchdowns.

Wayne is in a similar place as his fellow “The U” product, Johnson. Wayne isn’t what he used to be, but he still could be a valuable weapon for the Patriots as a No. 3 receiver.

Wayne has experience playing outside or in the slot, and the Patriots showed interest in him when he was a free agent two offseasons ago.

Shorts isn’t as dependable as Royal, Douglas or Wayne, but he has more upside after playing with some terrible quarterbacks in Jacksonville.

Shorts isn’t a slot receiver, however, so either Julian Edelman or Brandon LaFell would have to play inside if the Patriots acquire the Jacksonville Jaguars upcoming free agent. Shorts had 53 catches for 557 yards and a touchdown last season.

If the Patriots have some extra money to spend, then Johnson could be an appealing option. He’s a receiver who strives in the middle of the field, where the Patriots do most of their damage. He also has a solid history of production against the Patriots from his days with the Buffalo Bills.

Johnson caught 35 passes for 435 yards with three touchdowns with the San Francisco 49ers last season. He strung together three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons from 2010 to 2012 with the Bills.

Bilal Powell Among Five Potential Free-Agent Running Backs For Patriots

Thumbnail photo via Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Previous Article

Report: Jets Owner Woody Johnson Urging Front Office Push For Darrelle Revis

Next Article

Bill Walton: Playing With Larry Bird Like ‘Being On A Tropical Island’

Picked For You