On Monday the Patriots waived a pair of wide receivers. On Tuesday, they added a pair to the roster.
According to multiple reports, the Patriots replaced Chad Hansen and Riley McCarron with Corey Coleman and Bennie Fowler.
The moves are the latest attempt by Bill Belichick to add some depth to the position after a summer in which seemingly every option to do so has thus far failed. New England entered Sunday’s opener with Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Cordarrelle Patterson and McCarron among the active 46-man roster. Dorsett played well, catching all seven passes thrown his way, but Hogan and Patterson were quiet with just a catch apiece.
McCarron’s day was even worse as he was held without a catch and badly muffed a late punt that allowed Houston back in the game.
So, Coleman, a former first-round pick in Cleveland, and Fowler are the two newest candidates to provide some depth. Coleman was a bust with the Browns after being selected with the 15th pick in 2016 and was traded to Buffalo during training camp. His stint with the Bills didn’t last long as he was cut prior to the start of the regular season, although he may have some familiarity with the Patriots system since former Patriots assistant Brian Daboll is currently the Bills offensive coordinator. The 5-11, 185-pound wideout had 56 receptions for 718 yards with five touchdowns in his two seasons with the Browns.
Fowler is a bigger target at 6-1, 212. He made the Broncos practice squad as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and spent four years in Denver. He was a reasonably productive complementary piece from 2015-17, catching 56 passes for 698 yards and five touchdowns before parting for Chicago as a free agent. He was cut by the Bears this summer, making him available for the Patriots.
Meanwhile, the Patriots still have one remaining roster spot available after placing Jeremy Hill on injured reserve. Perhaps Belichick will look for a running back to replace Hill and could promote Ralph Webb form the practice squad. But there also would seem to be a spot open for a punt returner since neither Coleman nor Fowler has any experience doing so in the NFL, and he’ll look for a back with some versatility.