The New England Patriots have made some big news today by signing concussion-prone wide receiver Austin Collie, and this is honestly a move that shouldn’t surprise many people. ESPN Boston’s ace reporter Field Yates broke the news, citing a league source, and colleague Adam Schefter essentially confirmed it with a later tweet. Austin Collie recently received workouts from the Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers, but he also worked out for the New England Patriots, among other teams, late in the offseason. This seed of interest has turned into a contract for the oft-injured wide receiver a couple of months later, and it’s honestly a quality move.
Although Collie will probably get injured quickly after this signing, he could also end up being a really nice signing for this team if all goes well. It may sound extremely cynical to basically state that an injury to Collie is an inevitability, but one of the reasons why he didn’t stick around with the San Francisco 49ers is the fact that he wasn’t fully recovered from a knee injury. Austin Collie may have impeccable work ethic and determination, but the concussions are a massive concern and the knee issues are enough of a corollary concern as well.
That said, Collie is a very talented player, and he would be a nice reclamation project for the New England Patriots. When this team makes a veteran signing, this is exactly the kind of veteran signing they like to make. They go for talented veterans who have had it rough the past couple of seasons, and the added bonus with Collie is that he doesn’t have character issues.
One issue from my view is the fact that Austin Collie is a slot receiver, and the Patriots use Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman in that role. However, Edelman isn’t a pure slot receiver, and he could flourish elsewhere. Amendola is also an injury-prone player (ditto to Edelman), but I guess having three injury-prone receivers evens things out.
There are some downs to this deal, but most of them deal with the fact that Collie has major issues staying healthy. The Patriots obviously know that going into the deal, and this is really just a no-risk, potentially solid reward signing. If Collie can stay healthy, then he will be a really nice piece to this passing offense.