More on Caldwell
The Patriots made their first unrestricted free-agent signing on Friday, bolstering their receiving corps with four-year veteran Reche Caldwell. Terms of the deal are unknown at this time.
The 26-year-old Caldwell, a second-round draft choice in 2002, spent the first four years of his career with the Chargers. He’s known to have solid athletic ability and burst off the line, but has been somewhat inconsistent and has occasionally struggled with ball security in crucial situations. He’s coming off a career-high 28-catch season, which included a 28-yard touchdown grab against the Patriots on Oct. 2. The 28 catches would have ranked sixth on the 2005 Patriots, behind Deion Branch (78), David Givens (59), Troy Brown (39), Benjamin Watson (29) and Kevin Faulk (29).
In terms of physical build, the 6-foot, 215-pound Caldwell has the same height and weight as the departed David Givens. In terms of production, he has played in 47 games with 14 starts, totaling 76 catches for 950 yards (12.5 avg.).
Caldwell (whose first name is pronounced REE-shay) joins a crop of receivers that was thinned by the departure of Givens in free agency.
Deion Branch is the clear-cut No. 1 receiver and Caldwell, based on his experience and production, slides into the No. 2 spot at this time. In addition to Branch, Bethel Johnson is the only other receiver who saw extended playing time returning in 2006. Other receivers on the roster, who would seemingly be longshots to earn a roster spot, include Bam Childress, Zuriel Smith, Rich Musinski, Michael McGrew and John Stone.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Patriots target another free agent at receiver. The crop was considered thin when free agency started and two of the better-known players currently available are Keyshawn Johnson and Peerless Price.
FREE AGENT NOTES: Cornerback Deshea Townsend, who visited the Patriots on Thursday, has re-signed with the Steelers. … Free-agent offensive guard Stephen Neal, who previously visited with the Vikings, is in Buffalo today meeting with the Bills. … Receiver Tim Dwight is scheduled to visit the Jets on Sunday and also has a visit arranged with the Seahawks next week.