NFL Free Agency: Reggie Wayne Could End Up with the New England Patriots
We can only assume that the Indianapolis Colts will draft Andrew Luck, which will end the Peyton Manning era in Indianapolis—but does that mean Manning's top receiver, Reggie Wayne, is on his way out too?
It's a certain possibility.
Wayne spoke with ESPN's Josina Anderson and she reported this past Friday that Wayne has yet to hear anything from the Colts organization about his future with the team:
“That is where I want to be. I have been there 11 years and I would prefer to end my career a Colt. However, in due time those feelings could subside. I know one thing, my phone works. I do have service and every last bar on it and their number has not come across it yet. I haven’t heard anything from them yet, so maybe I am not as important on the chain of command as I should be.”
With that being said, Wayne along with all of us in the football world can assume that the All-Pro wide receiver will not be apart of Indianapolis' rebuilding plan for the future.
Should the Patriots pursue Reggie Wayne?
If Wayne does enter the free agent market, wouldn't it be something if he did come to terms on a contract with the New England Patriots? Former Patriot Willie McGinest spoke with the Boston Herald and believes that it's possible.
To add along with McGinest's comments, Bill Belichick spoke with the Boston Globe in late 2009 regarding Wayne and certainly praised his talents just following his team's 35-34 loss against the Colts:
“I mean, I can’t say enough about Reggie Wayne. That guy is the best receiver we cover every year and it seems like he just keeps getting better...He’s a tremendous receiver and he had some production against us.’’
Wayne will turn 34 by the end of next season and had a down year this past season with the quarterbacks the likes of Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky throwing him the ball. Wayne finished 2011 with 75 receptions for 960 yards and four touchdowns.
Just a year prior, Wayne had the best season of his career—so it would be unfair to believe that he's starting to run out of gas. In 2010, Wayne caught 111 passes for 1,355 yards and six touchdowns.
If Wayne can have that much success with Peyton Manning, then he could do just as well with Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Wayne could land in New England as the team's No. 1 wide receiver, which would replace Deion Branch, as Branch is set to become a free agent. But he could come back as the team's No. 2 receiver.
With Wayne split out, Wes Welker would line up in the slot—that is if the Patriots resign Welker to a long-term deal or simply franchise him—with Rob Gronkowski as the primary tight end with Aaron Hernandez acting more as a wing.
I'd take that receiving corp over anything in the NFL today.
Could we assume that Brady would throw about 45 touchdowns with that group? I think so.
Another interesting scenario would be if Belichick and the Patriots feel that Wayne is showing signs of aging but still bring him in as a No. 2—which could also open the door for a guy like Brandon Lloyd or Vincent Jackson.
Belichick and the Patriots do have money to play with as they currently sit about $20 million under the cap, which could mean some free agent splashes are on the way for New England.
Brady turns 35 this August and doesn't have much time left to win his fourth Super Bowl—but he has yet to show signs of slowing down—however, Belichick needs to use the money that is available to equip Brady with not only top-tier weapons but to also improve the team's terrible defense.
Be sure to check out Tony Santorsa's blog.
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