FOXBOROUGH – The first game of the New England Patriots pre-season is slated to take place this Thursday against the Detroit Lions. With a lot of time logged in training camp, it will be refreshing to finally see the Patriots in game action once again. But as training camp progresses, the Patriots have continued to tinker with their roster. The biggest signing, however, came yesterday when the Patriots signed former Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints wide receiver Cameron Meredith.
After a two-year offer sheet ended up landing Meredith in the Big Easy last season, injuries hampered his momentum, never allowing him to actually get going with the Saints. Instead, it resulted in Meredith being cut by the Saints on July 29.
In response, the Patriots swooped in to scoop up Meredith and add him to their receiving corps, but the 26-year-old was immediately added to physically unable to perform list. New England reportedly wants to nurse Meredith back to health, so he would not necessarily be expected to be on the field at the outset of the season. They do not plan to force the issue on his knee injury.
In four seasons in the NFL (with one lost completely to injury), Meredith has recorded 86 receptions for 1,122 yards and five touchdowns. His best season definitely came in 2016 and if Meredith can return to that form, he would be an undeniable weapon for Tom Brady.
The receiving corps for New England is a thin one already with a hobbled, aging Demaryius Thomas joining forces with the best wideout, Julian Edelman. Additionally, rookie N'Keal Harry and a plethora of tight ends to take Rob Gronkowski's spot have rounded out the receiving options for the Patriots.
Obviously, the Meredith signing could mean that New England is not happy with the progression Harry has shown at training camp. But I think it more likely means that New England is taking a low risk flyer on a player who could provide necessary depth to the team when he eventually returns from injury. They want to take their time with Meredith. It could pay dividends.
Image via Wikimedia Commons / Bernard Gagnon