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Free Agent Forecast: Pass Catchers

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The new NFL year begins tomorrow, Wednesday, March 13, and with it, the advent of 2019’s free agent marketplace. Leading up to that first day, we’ll examine the landscape from a Patriots perspective, concluding with the pass catchers (wide receivers and tight ends).

PATRIOTS FREE AGENTS

Phillip Dorsett (WR), Chris Hogan (WR), Cordarrelle Patterson (WR), Josh Gordon (WR – RFA)

OTHER NOTABLE NFL FREE AGENTS

Wide Receivers: Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers), Golden Tate (Philadelphia Eagles), Chris Conley (Kansas City Chiefs), Jermaine Kearse (New York Jets)

Tight Ends: Tyler Eifert (Cincinnati Bengals), Marcedes Lewis (Green Bay Packers), Antonio Gates (L.A. Chargers), Jared Cook (Oakland Raiders), Jesse James (Pittsburgh Steelers)

POSSIBLE PATRIOTS

Wide Receivers: Dorsett, Hogan, Patterson, Tate, Cobb, Kevin White (Chicago Bears),

Tight Ends: Cook, C.J. Uzomah (Cincinnati Bengals), Levine Toilolo (Detroit Lions), Demetrius Harris (Kansas City Chiefs),

ANALYSIS

As of Monday morning, there were more names on the wide receiver list, but since the so-called “legal tampering period” began that same day, a number of them have already reportedly inked deals with other clubs (the Ravens’ John Brown, for instance, is said to be joining the Buffalo Bills).

However, there’s been no reported news around Tate, who has hinted this offseason that he’d be open to making a move to Foxborough. Cobb was a productive player for many years in Green Bay and could provide solid depth at the receiver position. White, meanwhile, is a first-round talent who’s been injury-plagued throughout his NFL career with the Bears – a low-risk, high-reward potential pickup for receiver-needy New England.

According to media reports, the Patriots have tendered the currently suspended Gordon at the original draft round level, meaning he is in their plans if and when he is reinstated by the NFL.

From a tight end perspective, there’s not much from which to choose this year, and it’s not entirely clear yet if Rob Gronkowski plans to return for the final year of his current contract. In the meantime, the best options in free agency are older players like Cook and Lewis. Assuming Gronkowski does return, New England still needs to solidify the tight end position, which they might do with unheralded commodities like Uzomah, Toilolo, or Harris.

There’s also word that the Cardinals plan to release TE Jermaine Gresham this week, once the new league year has started. If so, he could be a consideration.

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