Third in a series of positional reviews from the Patriots’ 2009 season:
Wide receivers: Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Sam Aiken, Brandon Tate, Joey Galloway, Isaiah Stanback, Matthew Slater
Stat check: Welker led the NFL with 123 receptions, which was remarkable considering he missed almost three full games. Moss was tied for 12th in the NFL with 83 receptions, and had 13 touchdown receptions. Edelman finished tied for third on the team with 37 catches.
First instinct: It was a season-long struggle to establish a third option after Moss and Welker.
Storyline not be overlooked: Signing Joey Galloway to replace Jabar Gaffney. The Patriots were in the mix to keep Gaffney, but the Broncos – under former New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels – upped the bidding to a level the team didn’t want to go ($2.5 million per season). Stretching the limits, in retrospect, would have been the correct decision.
Future: Moss enters the final year of his contract, while Welker (2011), Aiken (2011), Tate (2012) and Edelman (2012) have multiple years remaining on their deals.
Final thought: This picture is clouded by the uncertainty of Welker’s recovery from a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee, as well as Tate’s recovery. Tate’s specific knee injury is not known (it is assumed to be a ligament tear). Given the unknowns, this figures to be an area the Patriots target in the offseason.
POSITIONAL QUICK HITS