I'm going to break ranks from the baseball talk for a second because I need help with some football questions. Namely, why is everybody bending over backwards to hail the Patriots for these free agent signings -- particularly the receivers? What in the name of Daniel Snyder is going on here?
Let's recap for a second WHY the Patriots needed to sign free agent wide receivers:
1) They've received little to no return on the first round draft pick they spent a year ago on Chad Jackson
2) The highly touted tight end position -- and the assumed ascension of Ben Watson -- hasn't really played out
3) Their best receiver is suiting up for the Seahawks, their most consistent playoff receiver is in Tennessee and the replacements for those two may have cost the team home field in the AFC title game last year
The bottom line is: the Patriots' mismanagement of the receiver position may have ultimately cost them the Super Bowl last year. In response, they've gone out and obtained Wes Welker, Donta Stallworth and Kelley Washington. While Welker has been productive, Stallworth is in the drug program and Washington hasn't even had 400 yards receiving in a season (shades of the David Terrell signing last year). Why do I get the feeling that these guys are on the Patriots roster because they were all that was out there on the market? It seems to me that the Patriots have been backed into a corner at this position to the point where they have had to scrap some of the criteria they use for evaluating players before signing them. This is a new direction for their front office -- and one that certainly hasn't worked well for others such as the Redskins.