The New England Patriots have some pretty big decisions they need to make this offseason, chief among them seems to be what to do with wide receiver Wes Welker. But while Welker is a free agent this offseason, the Patriots may be letting another receiver go, as The Boston Globe suggests New England may be able to let Brandon Lloyd and his $3 million salary go and not be any worse off than they are right now.
The logic behind letting both Welker and Lloyd go this offseason is that not only will the Patriots save a ton of money they can then use upgrading other parts of the team, but they’ll be running with three massive tight ends next season that each could be No. 1 options on any other team in the NFL. Rob Gronkowski is expected back from his broken arm, if he doesn’t film too many porno’s between now and then, while Aaron Hernandez and Jake Ballard are also expected to be fully healthy.
Ballard is a guy a lot of people forget about, as the Patriots snagged him from the Giants last offseason before he suffered an ACL injury that sidelined him for the entire 2012 campaign.
It’s not a giant secret that the Patriots love to use their tight ends as receivers and while they might not be lightning fast like Welker, Gronkowski, Hernandez and Ballard could very well make up a deadly group of targets for Tom Brady.
The real question is do the Patriots have enough depth behind Gronk, Hernandez and Ballard to make a tight end-heavy system work? There’s no questioning Bill Belichick’s genius, but just because it might be able to be done, doesn’t mean it will be successfully done. It’s definitely unconventional and could pay off big, but it’s still too early to tell if a three tight end arsenal is the right move for the Patriots.
But even if they don’t run with a corps of Gronk, Hernandez and Ballard in 2013, the Patriots will still likely part ways with Welker and may end up dumping Lloyd’s $3 million salary for a more attractive target on the market this offseason.