After a season in which the Patriots’ leading receiver, Jakobi Meyers, caught just 59 passes and zero touchdowns, it’s no surprise that experts are circling the position as an area of need in New England’s offseason.
Examining the available 2021 free agents, one name has already been suggested.
Will Fuller, the 26-year-old wider receiver who’s played the first five seasons of his NFL career with the Texans, has been identified as a potentially good fit in New England.
“No team needs a playmaking upgrade more, and Fuller has some New England traits — fast but isn’t limited to deep balls, has run-after-catch ability, will have a robust but not outrageous market,” wrote ESPN senior NFL reporter Jeremy Fowler.
Fowler acknowledged that the Patriots’ strongest competition for Fuller might come from within the AFC East.
“The Dolphins also need a true vertical threat who can get it done at all levels of the field,” said Fowler. “Maybe he simply follows Deshaun Watson wherever he goes. Fuller is oft-injured but showed No. 1 qualities last season.”
Pro Football Focus writer Anthony Treash also listed the Patriots as a possible suitor for Fuller, noting that “he can be the big-play threat that New England desperately needs with his deep speed.”
Fuller, a Texans first-round pick in 2016 out of Notre Dame, has yet to reach his full potential. Injuries have prevented him from playing in a full season, and he was suspended for six games in November after he tested positive for a banned substance (the final game of the suspension will be the opening week of the 2021 season).
Fuller responded to the suspension by saying he had “misplaced” trust in a prescription from a medical professional, who advised him the medication was a permitted substance. He apologized for what he called a “mistake” on his part.
Before his suspension, Fuller was enjoy the best season of his career, averaging 79.9 yards per game and scoring eight touchdowns.
NFL free agency begins with the start of the new league year on March 17.
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