Last week, Julian Edelman received a 4-game suspension to be served at the start of the 2018-2019 season for testing positive for an unknown substance. Knowing the NFL, there’s no way it gets overruled. So, with Tom Brady lacking his favorite receiver, how will the team adjust?
Now, with the additions of Jordan Matthews, Braxton Berrios, Cordarelle Patterson, and Malcolm Mitchell (returning from injury) there shouldn’t be a huge issue with replacing Edelman for only 4 weeks. The main issue comes with losing Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola this offseason. Losing your number-one target and go-to clutch receiver can really hurt this team’s chemistry.
Jordan Matthews provides a good replacement for Brandin Cooks with his 6’3 frame and ability to haul in passes. He has 250 receptions in just 56 games and provides Brady with a reliable and consistent target. Along with the returning Malcolm Mitchell who was the catalyst in Super Bowl 51, there should be no issues outside the hashes this season. The real issue comes with inside the hashes at the slot position. If you want to run Chris Hogan, Jordan Matthews, and Malcolm Mitchell all at the same time, it is more than probable Mitchell will be put in the slot due to his smaller size. Then when it comes to giving these guys rest, the options are very thin. Danny Amendola was the Patriots savior last year stepping up and taking over for Jules. This season, with no DA, the Patriots are left with only a few options.
The Patriots only have a few options to be their 4th WR: Phillip Dorsett, Cody Hollister, Matthew Slater, Cordarelle Patterson, Braxton Berrios, or Kenny Britt. Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt are the logical choices since they were here last year and have experience at the NFL level. Cordarelle Patterson, Matthew Slater, and Cody Hollister are likely full-time Special Teamers, so that leaves one wild card, Braxton Berrios. Berrios is a classic Belichick draft choice, coming out of the 6th round from Miami, Berrios is the seemingly perfect replacement for Edelman. He is only an inch shorter and about 15 pounds lighter making him nearly an identical copy. The issue will be chemistry with Brady, and how quickly they can build it. If the pair can build enough chemistry during training, practice, and first four weeks, we may be looking at the heir to Edelman’s throne.
Bottom line is, the Patriots have no real issues with Wide Receivers; they’ve done their best to replace everyone from the offseason, and the Edelman curveball is just another hiccup in a classic Patriots offseason. With three potential receivers ready to step up, you can’t really go wrong. Dorsett and Britt have shown they are willing to fight for their spot on the roster and leave it all out on the field. But maybe, just maybe the Patriots got a steal from the draft. Braxton Berrios is the classic “white wide receiver” NFL Twitter always talks about the Patriots drafting, so let’s see if he can make something out of his opportunity.