Joey Galloway: He Was Drafted Once, Why Draft Anybody?

Andrew CahillSenior Analyst IMarch 15, 2009

 Patriot Pat says-


The Boston Globe has confirmed that the Patriots have signed veteran wide receiver Joey Galloway, who had been released by Tampa Bay.

Galloway, now 37 years old, missed seven games last year due to an ankle injury, which limited him to only 13 catches for 138 yards.  He has, however, been a fast, efficient route runner in the past.  He has put up solid numbers in his career, averaging just under four receptions and 61 yards per game.  

Galloway has reportedly agreed to a one-year deal.  If he manages to stay healthy, and put up career like numbers, he will be a decent stop gap for 2009. 

Around this time next year, the wide receiver position will become a priority for New England, as Randy Moss will be entering the final year of his current contract, and will not be getting any younger.  

The Patriots wide receiver corps has seen a constant state of changeover and over the years have acquired standout receivers in both the draft and free agency.  They have drafted players full of potential only to have them not pan out, and have signed free agents who drop touchdown passes in the 2006 AFC Championship game.

The question I have now is, if a team has a need at wide receiver, should they address it through the draft, pursue a trade, or sign a veteran free agent?

 

Draft

When Joey Galloway was a rookie in 1995, the Patriots best receiver was tight end Ben Coates.  Vincent Brisby was the most productive wide-out with 66 receptions for 974 yards that year.  But in 1996 he would only play in three games and not catch a single pass.

That year saw the emergence of first-round pick Terry Glenn, who made 90 receptions for 1,132 yards and six touchdowns.  Glenn's rookie season was his most productive, but he would still put up productive numbers during his career in New England and then with Dallas

Since drafting Glenn in the first round, the Patriots have drafted nine wide receivers, not one being in the first round. Their most recent first-day choice at wide receiver was Chad Jackson out of Florida, who would catch 13 passes in his time with the Patriots. He also caught one pass in 2008 for the Denver Broncos.

In 2002, the Patriots used two draft choices on wide receivers Deion Branch and David Givens.  Branch would win the Super Bowl MVP Award in Super Bowl XXXIX, and put up consistent numbers during his time in New England.  David Givens would produce decent numbers while playing in New England, but taper off when he moved on to Tennessee.

It is hit or miss with the draft.  You are drafting based on talent, not proven productivity against NFL defenses.  

You could find a quality receiver like Deion Branch, end up with a flop like Chad Jackson, or with the right pick, in the right year, you may find a rare talent like Randy Moss.  

Moss caught 17 touchdown passes his rookie season and has caught at least 10 in all but three seasons in his career.

Free Agency/Trade

While a spectacular free-agent pickup was obviously once a spectacular draft choice, like Randy Moss, there is no guarantee that he would have been.  

When a team trades for, or signs, a proven player, they will be filling their roster with proven production. 

Deion Branch was signed by Seattle and continued his steady contribution.

Signing a proven free agent isn't always a sure thing and may hold some amount of risk. Randy Moss had two lackluster seasons in Oakland before being traded to the Patriots before the 2007 season, causing people to question how he would perform in New England.  

Sometimes risk is followed by great reward, as Randy Moss would go on to have a career season in New England, catching 23 touchdown passes.

So when teams sign a veteran, more often than not they know what kind of player they are going to get. The Patriots' top receiver in 2006 was Reche Caldwell, who was not exactly a proven producer.  

In four years in San Diego before coming to the Patriots, Caldwell caught more than 20 passes only twice.

It's no wonder that when they needed him to make plays he couldn't handle the ball.

When looking for wide-out, it is tough to say whether taking a consistent veteran or the unproven talent is the best way to ensure success.

The only consistency is that there is always some risk involved in every decision made.  

So, what do you think?

The 2010 season is slated to be un-capped.  If it continues beyond 2010, will we see a change in the amount of free agents changing teams?

If a team lets a player leave because he is searching for more money (money which they can't fit under the cap), will that team likely re-sign that player more often when there is no salary cap?  

Will teams overload their budget in 2010, and be in trouble later on if they reinstate a salary cap? 

Was the Joey Galloway signing a good one for the Patriots? Or should they have looked for a WR in the draft? Will they still?

Who do you think is the most underrated veteran receiver in the NFL?

What wide receiver draft choice has paid off the most for what team?