May 30, 2012

How Will the Cluttered Receiver Position Play Out in New England?

By - Shayne Carnahan

In case you lost count, the New England Patriots currently have eleven wide receivers on their roster.


Most teams carry five. Six, tops.

Of those eleven, five were with the team last season. Deion Branch, Chad Johnson (I REFUSE to call him Chad Ochocinco), Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater, and of course -- Wes Welker.

Photo by: David Butler
Two of the remaining six (Jeremy Ebert and Matt Roark) are rookies, while three of the other four (Brandon Lloyd, Donte' Stallworth, and Jabar Gaffney) all have significant NFL experience.

The team actually had twelve receivers on the roster prior to yesterday, when they released former Colt Anthony Gonzalez, who was one of the many wideouts that left Indy after Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos.

So now that we know who all is there, this is the part where I decide who they need to keep.

New England obviously needs to keep Deion Branch. He's one of Tom Brady's favorite all-time targets and he's produced well for them throughout the years.

Same goes for Wes Welker. He's Brady's go-to guy in tough situations. He may be on the small end, but he's very quick and agile, so he's the perfect weapon at the slot position.

Donte' Stallworth is another guy I recommend they keep around. He was part of the Saints Super Bowl run and 2009, and was also a member of the '07 Patriots team that nearly went undefeated.

Brandon Lloyd is guy they picked up in free agency. New England is hoping he can provide them with a deep threat, something they lacked last year.

I also believe they need to keep Julian Edelman around, simply because he has played both offense and defense for them in the past, and he's also been a very good special teams player.

So who goes?

I think Chad Johnson needs to be gone. He was good back in the day with the Bengals, but he showed last year that either his skills have completely diminished, or he's just not capable of learning the playbook. Either way, he needs to be shown the door.

I expect to see Jabar Gaffney released as well. Not because he's no good, but simply because with so many other receivers on the roster, someone will end up being the odd man out.

It will also probably be very difficult for either rookie to make the team, considering all the experience they are going up against.

There's no doubt that whoever makes the team will certainly have earned their spot, and Tom Brady will definitely have a ton of weapons to work with in the 2012 season.


  1. I'm all for creating competition at a position, but this is a tad bit ridiculous. The only one of the group that I say HAS TO GO is Ochocinco. Branch, Gaffney, and Stallworth have all been Brady favorites in the past. But one, if not two of them will probably be cut. The only ones right now that I would say are completely safe from being released are Welker and Lloyd. Anyone after those two could be gone.

  2. I think they are just trying to plan for life after Wes. I don't think they'll bring him back in 2013.