Well its official, the Patriots and Reggie Wayne have agreed to a 1 year deal according to a report by ESPN. Wayne, the former Colt receiver, visited with the New England Patriots this past Sunday, and took a physical. Apparently the Pats liked what they saw, and decided to offer him a one year contract.
Wayne, who is entering into his fifteenth year in the NFL, is a six time pro-bowler and brings veteran leadership and experience with him to New England. Many have claimed that Wayne has no more football left to play, but even at 36 years old he still has some gas left in the tank.
Last year in Indianapolis, even with a somewhat limited role, Wayne still managed to grab 64 catches for 779 yards and 2 touchdowns. While he may be old, he can still contribute to almost any offense in the league.
Now obviously, Wayne is never going to be a number one, or even a number two receiver again, but in an offense such as New England’s, Wayne can come in and take some pressure off the top performers. Similar to what Deion Branch was able to do in his later years with the Patriots.
One of the main reasons why Wayne is a key pick up for Pats, is that, early as it may be, the receiving core has been plagued by the injury bug. For the better part of August, Julian Edelman has been dealing with the complications of an ankle/ lower leg injury. Brandon LaFell, who earlier in the offseason was seen with a walking boot, has been on the physically unable to perform list, and Brian Tyms, who was a preseason stand out a year ago, is dealing with an ankle injury that could potentially put an early end to his season.
The Patriots have also dealt with injuries to both Aaron Dobson and, new comer, Brandon Gibson, who suffered an injury late in Saturday night’s preseason game versus New Orleans. So it’s not too big of a leap to say that the Pats might need a little extra depth at the receiver position.
Wayne, who faced the Patriots many times in his career, could be the solution to the Pats’ injury woes. It isn’t, however, the first time that the Patriots have picked up an ex-Colts receiver to help with the depth chart. Austin Collie was an addition to the 2013 roster. He contributed very little to the team, but it was nice to let Collie see what playing with a real quarterback was like. Wayne now will also get to share in this experience.
Wayne, I anticipate, will have more success than his former teammate, Collie. At the time when Collie was signed, he had very little football left, and injuries had played a key role in speeding up his time in the league.
Where the two players differ is that Collie’s injuries were almost exclusively head related, while Wayne’s only real injury was an ACL tear that he suffered during the 2013 season. The injury caused him to miss more than half of the season, and left a notable mark on Wayne’s speed. However, whereas concussions can really tax a player and threaten their life after football, knee injuries have become very easily dealt with, and no longer mark an end to a player’s career.
What makes sense about this signing with New England is that Wayne will not have to be a deep ball threat, as he was in Indianapolis. As most know, Andrew Luck likes to air it out, and while that style works for receivers such as T.Y. Hilton, it does not work for Wayne anymore. Reggie has lost a step and can no longer get past his corner as he so often used to do earlier in his career.
Brady on the other hand, prefers to be very methodical with his passing, and rarely, if ever, do we see him throw deep down the field. He tends to pick defenses apart with short, quick throws, and at this stage in Wayne’s playing career, that is exactly the type of offense that he needs to operate out of.
Now don’t expect Wayne to light up the league, but he should put together a nice little season. With the majority of defenses’ focused on stopping Gronk and Edelman, there should be plenty of room for others to shine, more specifically Wayne. What will be fun to watch is when the newly acquired Wayne, and his Patriot teammates, put a beat down on both his old team, the Colts, and his former ageing, noodle armed, joke of quarterback, Peyton Manning.
While this signing seems like nothing but good for both parties, the only negative that I can foresee is that Wayne will fall into a deep depression after he realizes all of the years that he wasted playing for that fraud of a franchise over in Indy. Although I am sure that won’t happen, after all, he has a lot to be happy now. Now let’s go get one for the thumb.
By Jake Cianci