When the Redskins released Jabar Gaffney from the clutches of their crowded wide receiver depth chart yesterday, we knew it wouldn’t take long for him to find employment, despite his somewhat advanced age.
Well, it took about 24 hours, and Gaffney is set to move to another congested depth chart.
Since we passionately enjoy being wrong, we threw out of a few predictions for Gaffney’s next destination, saying that he’d be a good fit with the Vikings, Jets, and Browns. Turns out the most obvious choice was the right choice, as Gaffney is set to sign a contract with the Patriots, according to Josina Anderson. Gaffney spent three years in New England between 2006 and 2008.
While the appeal of Gaffney is clear after he set career highs in both receptions and receiving yards in each of the past two seasons and finished 2011 with 947 yards, the move back to New England is a little confusing. Wes Welker will be back for the Patriots, whether it’s through a long-term deal or a one-year contract, and Brandon Lloyd was the Pats’ free agent splash. Anthony Gonzalez and Donte Stallworth were also acquired during free agency, while Deion Branch was re-signed to a one-year deal.
Gaffney’s signing will almost cetainly end Chad Ochocinco’s time as a Patriot. If the 34-year-old intends to continue a career that’s on life support after he had only 15 regular-season receptions last year, he’ll surely ask to be released so he can find somewhere that he’s wanted and can make a more significant contribution. Good luck with that, Chad.
The ideal fit for Gaffney would have been with a team in need of a veteran receiver to either help out a young quarterback, a young receiving corps, or both. He can easily pass Gonzalez and Stallworth on the Patriots’ depth chart, but then he’ll be left firmly behind Welker and Lloyd, and fighting for touches with Branch.
Depth at the position won’t be a problem for the Patriots, but keeping all their receivers happy could be difficult.