FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In one respect, the New England Patriots should be commended for their persistence when it comes to their wide receiver personnel. They’ve made a lot of moves in 2018 to try to get it right.
Yet in another respect, the present snapshot reflects a less-than-ideal situation because most of their decisions -- not including trading Brandin Cooks after Danny Amendola signed as a free agent with the Dolphins -- haven’t panned out. Since the first week of training camp in late July, Bill Belichick & Co. have made 25 transactions at the position, with the most recent being the headline-grabbing acquisition of Josh Gordon.
“Every year there are things that you have to work through. We've had a number of things we've had to work through this year and I'm sure there will be more,” Belichick said recently when asked how frustrating it has been at the receiver position. “It's a long season, so we'll see how it goes. We have confidence in the players that we have. In some cases, there are new faces added to the competition. We'll see how it goes and go from there.”
As for how things have unfolded for them at receiver since Julian Edelman lost his appeal of a four-game NFL suspension on July 3, it’s quite the timeline:
July 23: Long shot Devin Lucien is signed (1).
July 26: Long shot Cody Hollister is placed on injured reserve (2).
July 27: Long shot Paul Turner is signed (3).
Aug. 1: Jordan Matthews is released with an injury settlement (4).
Aug. 3: Eric Decker is signed to a one-year deal (5).
Aug. 6: Malcolm Mitchell is released (6).
Aug. 22: Kenny Britt is released (7).
Aug. 26: Decker announces his retirement (8).
Aug. 27: K.J. Maye is signed (9).
Aug. 31: Turner and Lucien are waived (10-11).
Sept. 1: Riley McCarron and Maye are waived (12-13), while sixth-round draft choice Braxton Berrios is placed on injured reserve (14).
Sept. 2: Chad Hansen and Amara Darboh are claimed on waivers (15-16).
Sept. 3: Darboh is waived with an injury designation (17).
Sept. 6: McCarron is promoted from the practice squad (18).
Sept. 10: McCarron and Hansen are waived (19-20).
Sept. 11: Corey Coleman and Bennie Fowler are signed (21-22).
Sept. 15: Fowler is released (23).
Sept. 17: Josh Gordon is acquired in a trade (24) and Coleman is released (25).
The Patriots are buying time until Edelman returns from the four-game suspension. He will make a big difference, as the club has been relying on Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett as its top two receivers, with Cordarrelle Patterson the No. 3 option.