The New England Patriots reached an agreement on a two-year deal with wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins on Thursday. His two-year, $1.84 million contract includes a $150,000 signing bonus, base salaries of $715,000 in 2013 and $850,000 in 2014, workout bonuses of $25,000 each year and a $75,000 roster bonus in 2014. The 26-year-old wideout has spent his entire five-year career with the Tennessee Titans, who drafted him with the 126th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Hawkins’ breakout season came in 2011 when he caught 47 passes for 470 yards and a touchdown. But Hawks was a non-factor for the Titans this past season, appearing in just seven games as he hauled in a mere five passes for 62 yards.
With that anemic offensive production, the initial thought is that Hawkins has no chance of making the team. But the terms of Hawkins’ contract makes his situation interesting. His contract is very similar to the agreement Julian Edelman made with the Patriots this offseason. Both contracts are pinpointed on the wide receiver’s ability to produce on the field. Edelman is the lone wide receiver on the roster that played for the Patriots in 2012. Even with his recent setback in recovering from his foot injury, he is expected to play a major role in the Patriots’ offense.
Although Hawkins signed an almost identical contract to Edelman, his chances of making the team appear bleak. Edelman is a lock to make the team, along with Danny Amendola, who was signed in the offseason to replace Wes Welker. Rookies Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce are also almost guaranteed to make the roster.
That likely leaves just one spot available at the wide receiver position. Hawkins will have to compete with 30-year-old veteran Michael Jenkins and Donald Jones, who the hapless Buffalo Bills gave up on after just three seasons. Maybe the Patriots opt to keep six wide receivers on the rosters, but even if so, Hawkins is unlikely to make the team. Jenkins is a good veteran presence in the locker-room, while Jones still has a chance to resurrect his career. Thus, Patriots fans should not expect Hawkins to be catching passes from Tom Brady during the 2013 season.