The New England Patriots have given Tom Brady another weapon to work with next season by adding Brandon LaFell to the roster.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the news of a three-year deal for the 27-year-old receiver:
And now Patriots have reached agreement on a three-year deal with former Panthers WR Brandon LaFell, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2014
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com provides a look at the value of the contract:
The #Patriots are closing in on a deal with Brandon LaFell, according to a source. The deal is expected to be for 3 years and roughly $11M— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2014
LaFell had been a secondary target behind Steve Smith with the Carolina Panthers for the past four seasons after being selected in the third round of the 2010 draft. This past season, he finished with 627 receiving yards and posted career highs of 49 catches and five receiving touchdowns.
As Mike Reiss of ESPN notes, the Patriots were able to see what the young player can do up close:
Brandon LaFell had season-high 7 catches vs. Patriots last season. He is 6-foot-2, 210 pounds. Had 49 catches for 627 yds, 5 TDs in '13.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) March 16, 2014
With the team also re-signing Julian Edelman, per ESPN.com, the Patriots should have a decent receiving corps to work with in 2014. LaFell also adds some much-needed size, considering Danny Amendola (5'11") and Edelman (5'10") were the top two receivers this past season.
On the other hand, Cecil Lammey of ESPN argues that there were better options available:
LaFell will have competition for playing time with Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins and others battling for snaps, but he should put up big numbers when he sees the field.
Meanwhile, this is yet another loss for the Panthers at receiver after releasing Steve Smith earlier in the week. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller points out that not all of the holes can be filled in the draft:
#Panthers currently have seven picks in the 2014 draft. They need at least two WRs, a LT and help CB and both S spots.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) March 16, 2014
After securing the No. 2 seed in the NFC this past season, Carolina could be set for a letdown performance in 2014 unless some moves are made.
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