The New England Patriots have major questions marks at the wide receiver and tight end position for the upcoming 2013 season.
Four of the five top five pass catchers from a year ago are no longer on the roster. Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead departed via free agency, Aaron Hernandez is facing a murder conviction and the Patriots elected to not re-sign Brandon Lloyd. Not to mention, Rob Gronkowski’s back surgery will almost assuredly keep him out of the first two weeks of the regular season.
What can the Patriots do to relieve tension off quarterback Tom Brady with his new and unproven batch of receivers? Maybe it is time to bring back an old friend to the offense.
No, not Randy Moss, folks, as much as the media would love it. In all seriousness, why not re-sign old reliable, Deion Branch?
Branch, the 2004 Super Bowl MVP for the champion Patriots, played in New England from 2002-2005 and most recently from 2011-2012. While he caught a mere 16 passes for 145 yards last season, his knowledge of the playbook could be useful with the current young core of wide receivers.
Rookies Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce will likely be counted on for huge production in their inaugural seasons in the NFL. Meanwhile, free agent signee Danny Amendola may be under more pressure than any other receiver in the entire league as he is expected to replicate the success of former wideout Wes Welker.
With all the pressure facing the wideouts and the uncertainty with the tight end position, it may make sense to bring back Branch.
Brady and Branch are very close friends and would love to reunite for another season. Last year, Branch was initially cut before the regular season and Brady told reporters he was crushed, but had to accept the “business side of the matter” as the leader of the team. Brady was a happy camper when Branch re-signed in the middle of the season, appearing in 10 regular season games and both of the Patriots’ playoff games.
The 34-year-old wideout has elected to stay in shape and not call it quits on his career on the off-chance the Patriots need his services. Branch has made it clear he wants to compete for a Super Bowl, but only in New England with his favorite quarterback, Tom Brady.
With Brady facing a lack of continuity at the wide receiver position, why not take a chance and bring back Branch, who has familiarity with the Patriots’ offensive schemes and can potentially mentor the young wideouts?