New England Patriots Would Be Smart To Pursue WR Kenny Britt In Free Agency

By Will Gellman
Kenny Britt
Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since the departure of Randy Moss during the 2010 season, the New England Patriots have lacked a proven big, dynamic playmaker within their receiving core. The team took a step in the right direction when they drafted Aaron Dobson in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft, but he is still a work in progress. There is still much work left to be done, especially if the Patriots want to compete with teams like the Denver Broncos, who are stacked with offensive weaponry.

One free agent that could pay dividends for the team is former Tennessee Titans WR Kenny Britt. Not much buzz has surrounded Britt as of now in free agency, and for good reason. He has suffered several injuries, most notably a torn ACL in 2011 that has caused him to struggle on the field. He has also had issues with the law that are well documented and they should not be taken lightly.

With all that said, Britt is perhaps the best low-risk high-reward receivers on the open market in a long time. He possesses unquestionable talent at the receiver position when healthy. In 2010, for example, he caught 42 passes for 772 yards and nine touchdown receptions, despite having mediocre quarterbacks in Vince Young and Kerry Collins throwing him the football.

He then suffered the ACL tear, as I previously mentioned, in 2011, which limited his playing time that year, but bounced back to have a decent year in 2012. That season, he caught 45 passes for 589 yards and four touchdowns, still with mediocre quarterback play in front of him. In 2013, hostility between him and the coaching staff, along with injury concerns, saw him play in parts of 12 games, catching only 11 passes for 96 yards and zero touchdowns.

Those things may sound like reasons to stay away from Britt, and you would be right to think so, but according to one of his former teammates, WR Nate Washington, he believes Britt’s law breaking days are done. Britt himself has gone on the record saying that he believes he can “still be a No. 1 receiver somewhere else.”

Perhaps the perfect place for him to start fresh is in New England under the tutelage of Bill Belichick? We all know that Belichick likes a bargain and Britt seemingly will not carry a hefty price tag with all the injury and character concerns attached to his name. At just 25 years old, Britt is still young enough to breakout once again if he can stay on the field and out of trouble.

The latter should be no problem for Belichick and the Patriots, but the former could prove difficult given his injury history. With the low-risk contract the team could sign him to, likely with incentives and very little, if any, guaranteed money, the team could simply cut him if he got into trouble or had issues staying on the field.

After all, the Patriots have taken on guys with red flags before in Moss, Corey Dillon and Aaron Hernandez, and they all worked out very well, with the exception of Hernandez. At 6-foot-3, 216 pounds with a 4.50 40 yard dash time, Britt has the size and speed to be a weapon in the New England passing offense alongside Dobson.

With a quarterback like Tom Brady throwing him the football, which he has never even come close to having, along with a change of scenery, Britt could be a very high impact signing for the Patriots at a considerably low cost.

Will Gellman is a New England Patriots’ writer for  Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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