If Thursday’s actions by the New England Patriots are any indication, the club appears to believe that their wide receiver “conundrum” is behind them after an emergence of some of their young players.
The Patriots officially released former Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Michael Jenkins on Thursday, and with the move, they jettisoned exactly half of their “veteran” presence on the outside. Danny Amendola is the lone Patriots receiver with the combination of legitimate experience and health at this point (cough, Julian Edelman), and the team appears ready to move forward with Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce, and company alongside him.
Jenkins is a 10-year pro with over 4,000 career receiving yards to go along with 25 touchdowns. However, he has never succeeded as a “breakout” guy in the league (despite being a 1st-round pick), and his best seasons took place in Atlanta during the Michael Vick era.
It is unknown whether Jenkins will be able to latch on with another club before the start of the 2013 season. However, he is the type of fundamentally sound receiver who excels at blocking, which could place him in a valuable role with a run-first team in the future. For the Patriots, it almost doesn’t seem to matter who lines up on the outside as long as Tom Brady is under center, and Bill Belichick and company seem poised to test that theory this season.