After a quiet beginning to free agency for the New England Patriots, they made a splash on Saturday by signing wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez and reportedly agreeing to terms with Brandon Lloyd. The wide receiver position was something the Patriots were expected to address during free agency and they did so Saturday.
Anthony Gonzalez was drafted in 2007 by the Indianapolis Colts and has played there all five of his NFL seasons. Considered a top slot receiver coming out of Ohio State, Gonzalez’s career in Indy was plagued by injuries which limited him to only 11 games over the past three seasons. However, eight of those games came in 2011. Gonzalez’s best season came in 2008 when the 27-year old caught 57 passes for 664 yards and four touchdowns.
The major news Saturday was, according to reports, that the Patriots have agreed to terms with free agent Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd has been long linked with the Patriots who have been looking to add a top receiver to their offense. The veteran receiver has spoken of his desire to join the Patriots which would make this a great move for the 30-year old.
In 2010, Lloyd had a great year in Denver where new Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was head coach catching 77 passes for 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns. Those numbers would be a welcome addition to the Patriots already prolific offense. While Lloyd was an expected target by the Patriots, the nine-year veteran had met with the San Francisco 49ers who are looking to lure Peyton Manning to the bay area.
These two receivers add much needed to depth to the Patriots receiving corps. In 2011, the Patriots had only three receivers with any significant NFL experience in Chad Ochocinco, Wes Welker, and Deion Branch. Of those three, only Welker and Branch were productive last year. Bringing in Gonzalez and Lloyd should increase production.