Among the major needs New England has for 2002 is wide receiver. With that in mind, the team had free agent Donald Hayes come for a visit.
Rick Smith, the agent for Hayes, confirmed the player was meeting with the team Tuesday. Hayes would be an attractive target for the Patriots. At 6-4 and 218 pounds, Hayes provides the type of size missing amongst the Patriots receiving corps.
A fourth-round pick for Carolina in 1998, Hayes has started 15 games for the Panthers each of the last two seasons. He led the team with 52 catches, 597 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns in 2000. His best season was 2000, when he posted career-highs of 66 catches, 926 yards and three touchdowns.
Over the course of his career, Hayes has started 31-of-51 games with 132 catches, 1,855 yards and seven touchdowns. His average of 14.1 yards per catch shows an ability to stretch defenses, which could help New England. The Patriots best deep threat is the speedy David Patten.
With the Terry Glenn situation still being messy, the Patriots need depth behind Patten and Troy Brown. The only other receivers on the roster are Fred Coleman, Jimmy Farris and Scott McCready. Only Coleman has played in an NFL game before, but he is primarily a special teams player at this point.
The Glenn situation has an important date upcoming, with his grievance hearing with the league scheduled for this Friday. The decision from the hearing will have a major impact on his future. If Glenn wins the grievance, he will retain about $8 million of his signing bonus, which the Patriots have been withholding. This would make it difficult for the team to trade or cut him because of the sizable cap hit. If the team wins the grievance, Glenn's bonus is lost.
Several reports have indicated efforts between Green Bay and New England to work out a trade for Glenn, in which case he might agree to drop his grievance. However, talks over a big signing bonus on a new contract with the Packers have slowed such a transaction from taking place.