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The New England Patriots could target one of the top free agents available.
According to a report from Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston on Thursday, March 17, Landry is a possible receiver the Patriots could target. Although he hasn’t been at the “top of mind” for New England’s front office, the five-time Pro Bowler could fit well on the “interior” as a slot receiver for the Patriots.
“Jarvis Landry of the Browns also remains available on the free-agent market, though he hasn’t been at the top of mind for the Patriots front office. As an undersized — and at this point in his career not as dynamic — option, he doesn’t quite fit the mold,” says Perry.
“But if the Patriots open themselves up to help on the interior, he sounds like their type.”
One AFC scout gushes over Landry’s ability to play, calling him a “good route runner,” while singling out his “good hands.”
“Tough, dependable, good route runner, good hands,” said one AFC evaluator. “Old-man game. Not fast but quick. He’s not going to play outside. But he’s still a really good football player. I love the guy.”
Landry’s Injury Issues Led to Decline in 2021
Landry struggled through a rough 2021 campaign due to injuries. The 29-year-old dealt with a knee sprain and was limited to just 12 games, the least amount of games Landry has ever appeared in during a single season.
In fact, Landry had missed just one game prior to the 2021 season.
Despite his level of consistency, Landry was released by the Cleveland Browns — two days before they even acquired Dallas Cowboys wideout Amari Cooper as their new No. 1 receiver.
Prior to his down season in 2021, Landry posted an offensive grade of 84.1 in 2020, ranking 16th among all receivers, according to Pro Football Focus. The veteran receiver was named to five consecutive Pro Bowls between 2015 and 2019 and led the league in receptions during the 2017 season.
The Patriots currently feature Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne as their top wideouts. While the three-headed bunch was good enough to lead New England into the postseason, they struggled against superior competition.
Meyers, Agholor and Bourne combined for just 14 receptions on 135 yards in the Patriots’ 47-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs. Mac Jones threw the football 38 times during that loss, meaning the Patriots’ top three wide receivers caught less than half of his pass attempts.
Adding a proven playmaker such as Landry and utilizing him in the slot could give the Patriots that much-needed slot receiver they’ve been missing since Julian Edelman’s retirement.
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Report: Patriots Interested in Julio Jones
Another potential veteran option for the Patriots is Julio Jones, according to Perry. The seven-time Pro Bowl receiver was released by the Tennessee Titans earlier this month.
As Perry notes, Jones is “of interest” for the Patriots.
“Another much more recognizable name who I’ve been told would be of interest to the Patriots — at the right price — would be Julio Jones,” says Perry. “A deal for the future Hall of Famer would have to be relatively cheap light on guarantees, one league source posited, but at 6-foot-3 he ticks the “size” box and still has enough athleticism to threaten secondaries when he’s on the field. ”
However, like Landry, Jones missed a lot of time last season, appearing in just 10 games last season. In fact, he’s missed 14 total games the past two seasons.
“The availability,” said one AFC exec, “is an issue.”
If the Patriots can sign Jones at a bargain rate, it wouldn’t be a surprise if New England took a chance on the veteran receiver entering the 2022 season.