BOSTON (CBS) — With their current roster, the Patriots already may have one or two too many wide receivers, but might they make some more room for an old friend?
It’s a question Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels and Co. will have to ponder now that veteran wideout Jabar Gaffney was released by the Washington Redskins this week.
Gaffney, 31, found himself the odd man out after the Skins splurged for Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan in free agency. That’s despite Gaffney’s team-leading numbers in receptions (68), receiving yards (947) and receiving touchdowns (5).
Now, Gaffney hits the free-agent market, and his history with the Patriots and with McDaniels out in Denver makes the Patriots seem like a very real possibility.
Gaffney was a solid contributor in New England in 2007 and ’08, catching 74 passes for 917 yards and seven touchdowns those two seasons. He then left to join McDaniels in Denver, where he averaged 60 catches, 804 yards and two touchdowns per season, before setting career highs last year in Washington in receptions and yards and tying a career high in touchdowns. The Patriots saw a bit more success from Gaffney than they would have liked in their Week 14 trip to Washington, when he caught six passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.
If Belichick and McDaniels ask their quarterback what he thinks of Gaffney, the veteran wide receiver is likely to receive a glowing recommendation.
“Jab could do everything well,” Brady said earlier this year. “He’s got good size, he’s got long arms, he’s got good speed, he’s got good quickness, he plays every position, he’s smart. He’s just one of those guys that, from the day we got him here, he was just so reliable and dependable because he knew what to do and he did it well. You gain a lot of trust from the quarterback when all those things match up. I was bummed when he went to Denver and I was bummed when he went to Washington and here we are playing them.”
Working against Gaffney’s chances of reuniting with Brady is the current depth chart, which includes Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Donte Stallworth, Chad Ochocinco, Anthony Gonzalez, Deion Branch, Julian Edelman, Tiquan Underwood, seventh-round draft pick Jeremy Ebert and undrafted free agent Matt Roark. While Welker’s situation remains in flux (he hasn’t yet signed his franchise tender), there clearly aren’t many available spots available on the New England roster. For Gaffney to even be considered by the Patriots, they’d have to believe he could be more productive than Stallworth, Ochocinco or Branch.
They’d also have to look past the bizarre offseason Twitter meltdown that quickly made national headlines in early April. Gaffney’s Twitter account launched a series of profanity-ridden comments about his “soon-to-be-ex-wife.” Gaffney later claimed his account had been hacked, and he then deleted the account.