The Patriots hosted three free agents today, two of which could help the team’s offense. The first, WR Josh Reed, I reported on Saturday. For those of you who may be wondering what Reed could bring to the Patriots, Mike Reiss from ESPNBoston.com spoke with Bills radio analyst Mark Kelso, and this is what he had to say:
“He started slowly in Buffalo when he first was drafted, but I thought he came along and became an outstanding possession receiver. He has good escape-ability, not necessarily with quickness but he’s a pretty powerful guy as a slot receiver. He’s also demonstrated really good hands.
“Without question, he was one of the best, if not the best, blocking receivers in the NFL. So he gives you a lot in the running game. I think you can compare him to someone like Hines Ward in that aspect of the game. He’s a terrific blocking receiver. While I don’t know him well, from what I’ve heard people say he’s also a high-character guy and a good locker room presence.
“He doesn’t have breakaway speed to go the distance. As a slot receiver, he has a thick body and can take a hit over the middle, and he does a nice job using his body to position himself over the middle. I wouldn’t consider him a deep threat right now, but playing down in the red zone, he’s demonstrated excellent hands and a savvy-ness about him to position himself in those tight areas. Overall, I think his value is more as an inside [slot] guy.
“I think he still has productivity left. If the Bills were a 10-6 club like the Patriots last year, perennially contending for a playoff spot, I think they probably would have kept him. But they have a few younger guys, James Hardy and Steve Johnson, and they want to uncork them and see what they can do. They are retooling a number of things, so Reed became a product of attrition.”
With Welker likely out, Reed could be a good replacement until he returns and further bolster the depth when Welker is ready to go. In addition to hosting Josh Reed, the Patriots also brought TE Alge Crumpler in for a free agent visit. Crumpler is a veteran TE that would certainly upgrade the blocking from the tight end position and while slower, does have better hands than Ben Watson. Still, if he is signed, I don’t think catching passes will be his main role. I feel that will go to a tight-end-to-be-named-later.
Finally, the Patriots hosted former Jets special teamer LB Marques Murrell. Murrell would likely be a depth signing if a deal is done, though he did do well rushing the passer at Appalachian State when he was there 3 years ago.
In other Patriots news, CB Leigh Bodden visited the Houston Texans while DE Jarvis Green visited the Denver Broncos. Having Bodden sign elsewhere would be the bigger loss as corner is one area of need already on the Patriots, while the defensive line does have some young depth. Also, TE Ben Watson will be heading to Cleveland on Wednesday after having visited Seattle.