If the market for free agent NFL wideouts was akin to playing baseball, the New England Patriots would be batting well below the Mendoza line.
Hell, if it weren’t for somethings named Maurice Harris and Bruce Ellington (who’s missing a portion of one of his hamstrings), the defending Super Bowl champions would be getting no-hit through seven innings. Add in the fact that Rob Gronkowski just retired, and suddenly Tom Brady has little more than Julian Edelman (who’s really good) and some spare parts to throw the ball to.
But it’s not for lack of effort.
As you might have heard, the Patriots pursued the likes of Adam Humphries, Cole Beasley and Jared Cook, but weren’t able to sign any to contracts. But those are far from the only players who New England has tried — and failed — at bringing into the fold.
Check out this tweet from NFL Media’s Mike Giardi:
That’s a weird look for a team that can enter negotiations by saying, “We have the best quarterback and head coach in history, and six Super Bowl championships.”
So, why do the Patriots keep coming up empty? Is it salary-cap related? Is the team experiencing a cash crunch? Do free agents look at the ages of Brady and Belichick and think New England’s best days are behind it? Honestly, the answer probably is a combination of all three.
At the end of the day, the Patriots still have the NFL Draft to look forward to, and there’s still plenty of time to pull off a major trade. But for now, it’s hard to look at the organization’s offseason woes and be anything other than concerned.