The New England Patriots‘ wide receivers are showing improvement each week, but that hasn’t changed the fact the team still needs to make the position a priority in the offseason. While the draft is an obvious vehicle to fill the void of playmaker at receiver, free agency is another option.
The Tennessee Titans’ Corey Davis is having an outstanding year, and as NFL Network’s Field Yates mentions in his tweet, the 25-year-old has played his way into a solid payday.
A first-round pick having his fifth-year option declined can occasionally have a silver lining.
Titans WR Corey Davis fits that mold, as he’s on pace for 71 catches for 1,068 yards during a career year.
He’s played his way into a payday, be it from Tennessee or as a free agent.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 8, 2020
Behind Yates’ tweet, WCVB’s Christopher Glasper identified Davis as a possible fit for the Patriots as head coach Bill Belichick usually takes note of the players who give him problems, and the former No. 5 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft did just that in his only regular-season meeting with New England.
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Davis vs. Patriots in the Past
Back in 2018, Davis lit the Patriots up when he caught 7 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. The Titans handed the Patriots a 34-10 loss in that game. Davis was quieter in the Titans’ postseason win over the Patriots last season.
Davis didn’t catch a pass as he had only two targets, but it’s important to understand the Titans’ gameplan in that contest. Head coach Mike Vrabel came into the game hellbent on cramming Derrick Henry down the Patriots’ throats, and he succeeded as the elite back ran the ball 34 times for 182 yards and one touchdown.
The Titans’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill only threw the ball 15 times the entire game, so Davis’ lack of stats wasn’t due to any sort of futility.
Patriots Have Tons of Cap Space
If you’re wondering if the Patriots can afford to sign a wide receiver in his prime fresh off the best season of his young career. The answer is: yes.
The Patriots have positioned themselves to have a wealth of cap space next season. They currently have just over $20 million available and that number will grow into next season when contracts expire, cost-cutting trades occur and some potential retirements take place.
Davis will be looking to get paid, but if the Patriots are interested, they will have the ability to get it done.
Davis Would Be the Patriots’ No. 1 Option
If the Patriots do sign Davis, I’d expect for him to be the team’s unquestioned No. 1 receiver. While there are hopes N’Keal Harry builds on the modest momentum he may have established after catching a touchdown pass in the 45-0 win over the Los Angeles Chargers last week, it’s unlikely he’ll make himself look like the second coming of Randy Moss over the final four weeks of this season.
Because of that, I’d bet on the receiver position still being a top priority in the offseason and Davis is talented and accomplished enough at this point to be the Patriots’ No. 1 option if this completely hypothetical situation comes to pass.