New England Patriots Sign Donte Stallworth: What Does It Mean? What's Next?

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IMarch 19, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 03:  Donte Stallworth #18 of the New England Patriots walks off the field after losing to the New York Giants 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It had to happen 20 minutes after I got done writing about the New England Patriots new-look wide receiver corps.

In this day and age of social media, it's surprising we hadn't heard multiple reports of New England's interest in signing back Donte Stallworth before it went down. But that's precisely what happened.

And then, this happened.

Pats bring back Donte Stallworth on a one year deal.League source.

— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 19, 2012


What Does It Mean?

The Patriots are picking up wide receivers like they're going out of style. First it was former Colts receiver Anthony Gonzalez, whose career has been marred by injury.

Then, it was former Rams wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, whose production saw an exponential boost under the tutelage of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels with both the Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams.

The Patriots took a similar approach to their defensive line last year, at one point fielding 18 linemen during training camp. The thought process is to throw a high volume of darts at the board and hope that a few of them stick.The strategy worked last year, with Mark Anderson and Andre Carter yielding a high return on investment while others didn't.

One big positive for Stallworth is that he's already familiar with the offense of McDaniels, but how much will he contribute? Stallworth wasn't hugely productive with the Patriots, and had more than five receptions and 100 yards just once in 2007. He did have three consecutive games with a touchdown, but was largely a non-factor outside of that.


What's Next?

Another wide receiver? Joking. Kinda.

The Patriots have clearly learned that offense is king in the NFL, having focused most of their resources on that side of the ball.

And though the team signed outside linebacker Trevor Scott this weekend, and safety Steve Gregory and defensive linemen Jonathan Fanene last week, it may be time to focus a bit more on that side of the ball. 

With so many moves already, though, the Patriots may be winding down their activity in free agency.