Former Colts WR Dontrelle Inman Signs Reported 1-Year Contract with Patriots

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured Columnist

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Dontrelle Inman makes a catch before an NFL football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

The New England Patriots and wide receiver Dontrelle Inman agreed to a reported one-year contract Monday.

New England announced the deal alongside the signing of offensive lineman Jared Veldheer after NFL Network's Ian Rapoport first reported the agreement on Friday.

Inman spent the 2018 season with the Indianapolis Colts and finished with 28 receptions for 304 yards and three touchdowns in nine games. He also made eight grabs for 108 yards and one touchdown in two playoff games.

The 30-year-old veteran will join a Patriots receiving corps with plenty of question marks beyond No. 1 wideout Julian Edelman, who was named the MVP of Super Bowl LIII last season.

As pointed out by ESPN's Mike Reiss, the Pats have a ton of options at receiver, but very little clarity within their depth chart:

While Edelman will undoubtedly be quarterback Tom Brady's top target out of the slot, New England is in search of consistent performers on the outside. The 6'3" Inman could figure into that mix along with holdover Phillip Dorsett, 2019 first-round pick N'Keal Harry and free-agent acquisition Demaryius Thomas, who is coming off a torn Achilles.

Wide receiver Chris Hogan left New England to sign with the Carolina Panthers in free agency, while Josh Gordon is still suspended indefinitely for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

While Inman was used somewhat sparingly last season and in 2017 when he split time between the Los Angeles Chargers and Chicago Bears, he showed in 2016 that he can be a quality starter.

Inman started all 16 games for the Bolts in 2017 and managed career highs across the board with 58 receptions for 810 yards and four touchdowns.

Conventional wisdom suggests that Harry will receive the first crack at being New England's top outside guy since the Pats invested the No. 32 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft in him, but head coach Bill Belichick has never been one to hand over jobs.

A starting job is up for grabs based on merit, and aside from Thomas, Inman has as strong of a resume as anyone who will be vying for it.

If Thomas is not healthy in time for the start of the 2019 season, two of Inman, Harry and Dorsett have a chance to play a significant role in the offense, especially with tight end Rob Gronkowski opting to retire.

Brady needs a receiver who can make plays down the field and in the red zone, and given his size, Inman has the ability to provide those things.

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