The New England Patriots seemed to be in dire straights after losing Wes Welker and cutting ties with Brandon Lloyd this offseason, but it didn’t take long for New England to re-load its receiving corps via free agency. The Pats retained Julian Edelman (also known as Welker Jr.) on a one-year deal and signed former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders to a one-year deal on Wednesday. Nobody thought Edelman was coming back, but Welker’s sudden departure apparently caused a change of heart for both New England and Welker Jr.
Sanders isn’t going to be the deep threat that Randy Moss was a few years back, but he’ll be a heck of a lot better than Lloyd and Chad Johnson. At just 26 years old, Sanders is quick and he hasn’t come anywhere close to reaching his full potential. Of course, you can’t blame him as the Steelers’ offense wasn’t exactly fluid over the past couple of seasons and now he’ll get to develop in arguably the NFL‘s top passing offense.
These signings came at the perfect time after the Patriots learned they might be without Rob Gronkowski to start the season, so Sanders could be playing a bigger role than expected right out of the gate. After showing flashes of brilliance with the Steelers, Sanders could be Tom Brady‘s new favorite target.