Tom Brady certainly enjoyed having Gaffney around in his three seasons with the Pats, even managing to target the wideout with future hall-of-famers Randy Moss and Wes Welker running routes.
To say that the New England Patriots’ wide receiver core is stacked is an understatement. Obviously answering the cries of their fans, which called for more wideouts to lessen the load put on Wes Welker and tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Pats have made the defensive backfield and the receiving core areas of interest for improvement. Adding to the already strong lineup of Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch, and Anthony Gonzalez the signing of Jabar Gaffney has further strengthened this group. Last season with the Washington Redskins, Gaffney caught 68 passes for 947 yards and five touchdowns.
For those loyal Pats fans that remember, Gaffney was a favorite target of Brady during his three years with the team from 2006-’08. In his best season with the Pats, Gaffney recorded 36 receptions for 449 yards and five touchdowns. While these numbers may seem average compared to those he put up with the Redskins, one has to remember that Gaffney was behind receivers Randy Moss, Welker, and Stallworth in the rotation. For a fourth receiver, his stats with the Pats are pretty good comparatively with his Washington numbers, where Gaffney was the second receiver behind Santana Moss.
I expect Gaffney to make contributions comparable to his past ones with the Pats this season. He’ll most likely be a candidate for the fourth receiver position again, though training camp battles could yield different results. With the addition of Gaffney, Pats fans have to wonder now if Matthew Slater and Julian Edelman’s days as receivers are over. I’d have to believe that they’d be restricted to special teams and reserve receiver slots with the plethora of talent at the position. This also brings to question the status of Chad Ochocinco. Given all of the moves the Pats have made to bolster their WR core, one has to think that Ochocinco’s days could be numbered in a Pats uniform. Ocho’s lack of production last season further supports this notion. Unless any more moves are made prior to training camp, however, us Pats fans will have to wait and see how the team organizes the wideout talent they have.