Are the New England Patriots still looking for veteran wide receivers?
If so, one of the players that was mentioned as a potential trade target this season is now a free agent.
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Kenny Stills is a Free Man
The Houston Texans granted Stills his release on Friday. The 28-year-old veteran out of Oklahoma spent 2019 and most of the 2020 season with the Texans after beginning his career with the New Orleans Saints in 2013 and moving on to the Miami Dolphins for four years from 2015-18.
Still reportedly wanted to be released so that he could pursue an opportunity with a playoff team. The Texans are likely out of the postseason picture at 4-7, but they are on a two-game win streak after defeating the Patriots in Week 11, and thrashing the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. Still, the team is a longshot to play in the second season.
With Stills’ NFL mortality likely fresh in his mind, he’s looking for opportunities to spend the rest of his career playing for something he’s yet to have, and that’s a Super Bowl.
Can He Get That With the Patriots?
Patriots fans may hope that the Patriots show some interest in Stills, but there is no guarantee the veteran will see New England as a better opportunity.
Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels agrees.
Stills has had some nice games against the Patriots – 8 catches for 135 yards in 2018
If the playoffs are his goal, not sure the Patriots are the place to be, but they could use him https://t.co/hSMw2rOxc9
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) November 27, 2020
The Texans just defeated the Patriots and while the offense did have some success, Stills’ now former quarterback Deshaun Watson sliced through New England’s defense like a hot knife through butter.
That begs the question, would signing with the Patriots be a step up, down, or best a lateral move?
Other Potential Suitors
If even the most optimistic and excited Patriots fans are honest with themselves, you’d have to think that a wide-receiver-hungry team like the Green Bay Packers–who should be in the market for another pass catcher–would be a much better situation for Stills to land.
Heading into the Packers’ Sunday night matchup with the Chicago Bears this weekend, Green Bay is in first place in the NFC North with a 7-3 record. With a win over the stumbling Bears, the Packers could all but lock up the division.
That would seemingly be an attractive opportunity for any veteran who is looking for an opportunity to win.
In addition to the Packers, there are also squads like the Washington Football team and New York Giants. Neither team is even close to a winning record. Yet in the putrid NFC East, Washington is leading the division with a 4-7 record (the same as the Texans) and the Giants are right in the hunt with a 3-7 record. Washington, New York, and the Philadelphia Eagles are all playing a game called, “let’s see which one of us can get our stuff in order first.” The winner of this little contest will likely win the division.
Perhaps Stills could be one of the sparks for those teams. In any case, all of them might be a more attractive option than playing for the Patriots who have quite the uphill battle ahead of them at 4-6.