Reggie Wayne signing just a stopgap for Patriots

New England fans shouldn't expect much out of free-agent signing Reggie Wayne -- but he could still provide some value.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

(AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

Reggie Wayne signing just a stopgap for Patriots

The New England Patriots signing Reggie Wayne is a bit of an unexpected move. The declining Wayne struggled last year and was unusually inconsistent, even considering the fact that he was coming back from injury.

Wayne graded out relatively poorly, earning a -12.2 last year. The best parts of his game over the years were always his consistency and sure hands, but his nine drops last year were an indicator that his play was slipping.

A player’s age tends to show up more toward the end of seasons, when bodies are tired, sore, and beat up, and simply can’t operate the same as they used to. The Colts were obviously aware of Wayne’s declining play, as his targets started to drop throughout the season. He had a couple of games early with over 10 targets, but as the season wore on he was lucky if he got five or more. He was almost non-existent against New England in the championship game.

For all of these reasons, this move by the Patriots seems to be more of a stop-gap. But that doesn’t mean Wayne can’t still provide some help. They went for a receiver who they know can pick up the playbook quickly and will be where QB Tom Brady expects him to be. That can lead to quite a year for Wayne, if he can stay healthy, as Brady is willing to share the ball if he develops a level of trust with a receiver. But Wayne’s performance last season is a clear indicator that he could wear down as the season goes along.

  • Phil Kloc

    Imagine what would happen if the Pats actually drafted skill players, especially receivers, early. Not that I have any reason to question Belichick’s methods, but it seems they find themselves in this position at receiver every year. A college stud would do them and Tom Brady some good.

    • travis

      They did with Dobson, Vereen and Ridley (3rd) back to back, and Gronk in the second rounds. Go back to 2006 and they did Maroney and Jackson in the first and second. I think they rely on their FA pickups too much as well. Jaelen Strong would’ve been a decent grab at WR for the downfield ability and size.

      • Sam Doohan

        I think that the Pats feel that their coaches and their culture can make any receiver work in their offense and it’s hard to argue that’s not true. More than any other team in recent memory they’ve shown the willingness to cut and sit guys who aren’t giving their all off the field. When your team says ‘we would rather pay you to do nothing than play unprepared’ that sends a message and so far WRs have responded well to it.

    • Barb UMihai Mar

      It’s also money thing. He maybe doesn’t see value in paying WRs 10+M per year. Plus the studs are always gone when he drafts in the late 20s or 30s (43% or 6 SB out of 14 drafts possible).
      The rationale might be…my elite QB will make solid WRs look good/great. Let me draft Defense, protection or running game.
      The results seem to show that’s the right decision.

      • Sam Doohan

        That’s definitely a factor. The Pats have always worked hard to keep their team balanced and I bet the idea of paying anyone that much makes Bill cringe. They prove pretty well that spreading the money out and getting some balance is just as effective as focusing money on one or two guys. It gives them better depth and lets them make plays in free agency as they need it. NE will never end up having to choose between Des and Murray.

    • Paulvr

      The Pats will be fine at receiver. It’s a TE based offense now anyway. Just wait until we see Gronk and Chandler together. With good O-line play, I can’t see how that can be stopped. And of course, Edelman is back soon.

      12-4. SB 50 participants.

    • dano_in_ny

      And Chad Johnson, Bethel Jackson, Lawrence Maroney. The Pats have figured that what they need in the backfield comes from lower or undrafted rounds and they’re right. Look what a Dez Bryant or Andre Johnson costs in salary.

  • TJ Keiran

    Wayne will provide inside info regarding audibles and preferences that will help Pats win in Indy. Can’t wait to see him get > 100 yds and TD in his homecoming.

  • crosseyedlemon

    I agree that Wayne is just a stop gap. He will basically be this years version of the overpaid decoy much as Percy Harvin was when he was picked up from the Seahawks.

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