Tuesday was one of those days when New England Patriots fans went nuts after a relatively noteworthy player hit the free agent market. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, you clearly are not on Twitter.
Typically, those conversations are a special blend of annoying and unnecessary. However, in the case of Allen Hurns, the speculation is at least somewhat justified.
The 27-year-old receiver was released Tuesday by the Dallas Cowboys, who he signed with last offseason after four successful years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. As you might recall, Hurns missed more than half of the 2018 campaign after suffering a devastating leg injury.
Soon after Hurns hit the open market, New England fans began calling for the receiver-starved Patriots to give him a look. And, despite the injury, it’s easy to see why: Hurns averaged 47.3 catches, 667.2 yards and 5.3 touchdowns per season with Blake Bortles as his primary quarterback.
Hurns’ best season came in 2015 when he caught 64 balls for 1,031 yards to go along with 10 TDs. The strong sophomore campaign landed him at the No. 89 spot in NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players” list entering the 2016 season.
In its feature on Hurns, NFL Network included a clip of Bill Belichick praising the physical wideout before his team faced the Jaguars at Gillette Stadium in Week 4 of the 2015 season.
“Where did he come from?” Belichick told then-Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley. “Damn! That guy is a good player.”
Take a look:
For what it’s worth, the 6-foot-3 Hurns caught two balls for 70 yards and a score. The Patriots wound up beating the Jaguars 51-17 to move to 4-0 in a season that resulted in a Super Bowl championship.
Of course, Belichick’s adoration for Hurns nearly four years ago hardly means the Patriots would be interested in a receiver recovering from a broken fibula. But, given the current status of New England’s receiving corps, Hurns is worth taking a look at.
Among the wideouts on the Patriots roster, three (N’Keal Harry, Ryan Davis and Jakobi Meyers) are rookies with zero experience, two (Julian Edelman and Demaryius Thomas) won’t be ready for the start of training camp, and the rest are named Phillip Dorsett, Dontrelle Inman, Maurice Harris and Braxton Berrios. Yes, more than one of those guys could rise up and provide worthy contributions — Dorsett knows the system and Harris was sneaky-good last year in Washington — but they can’t be counted on.
(That list doesn’t even include tight end Rob Gronkowski, who retired in March, or running back Sony Michel, who will begin training camp on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list after undergoing a knee procedure in June.)
So, is it crazy to suggest that Belichick should take a flyer on a receiver he clearly respects whom he also could add for cheap money? Nope, not at all.
New England’s offense is in a bad place — for now, at least — and a player of Hurns’ talent and size is someone Belichick absolutely should look at.