Yesterday it was announced that the Patriots had signed wide receiver Brandon LaFell to a three year deal, shortly after the Denver Broncos signed wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Back and forth these two squads go, and while I still don’t know who has “won” free agency, I do know that signing LaFell was a good move for New England.
The thing I like most about this signing, is how different LaFell is compared to the rest of the New England wideouts (with the exception of Aaron Dobson). Yes, LaFell did spend a lot of time in the slot in Carolina, but he is much bigger than the rest of Tom Brady‘s weapons. He is 6’2, and should bring a decent outside presence to this offense. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but he has shown throughout his career that he knows how to get open, and he can go up and make a play on the ball. Julian Edelman, and Danny Amendola will rule the middle of the field like last year, but adding LaFell opens up a whole different dimension for Brady. Along with Dobson, LaFell will get a lot of one on one coverage on the outside, and I think he will be able to take advantage of it. When teams clog the middle of the field, you have to go outside the numbers, and up until now, the Pats had nobody to really capitalize on that. Perhaps LaFell will finally be that guy for New England.
A lot of people have pointed this out, but an underrated aspect of this signing is the competition LaFell will provide for the Patriots in camp. The coaching staff finally has a big guy to throw out there, to compete with the smaller, quicker players of the past. This should improve everybody’s games, including LaFell’s.
In his short four year career, LaFell has 167 receptions, 2,385 yards, and 13 touchdowns.