So now we know that Reggie Wayne is en route to Foxboro to lend a tourniquet to a receiving corps that continues to bleed out. On Monday, the New England Patriots placed Brandon Gibson on injured reserve with a torn ACL suffered in Saturday night’s preseason win over the Saints and waived/injured Brian Tyms, who also will hit IR should he clear waivers. With Aaron Dobson still (heavy emphasis on still) unable to stay on the field, Brandon LaFell on the PUP list and Julian Edelman on the sidelines, the Pats had to do something.
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Bringing in Wayne, even in a diminished state, makes sense. He adds depth and is such a consummate pro that if he has anything at all left in the tank, it shouldn’t take him too long to pick up on what the Patriots like to do in the passing game.
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But before anyone gives him a spot on the depth chart or starts projecting stats or works themselves into a lather over what he may do in Week 6 when the Patriots travel to Indianapolis to play the Colts, remember, this is a guy who has regressed so much over the past two years that his own team, the only organization for which he’s ever played, was happy to let him walk.
Wayne played all 16 games in 11 straight seasons until a torn ACL held him to just seven and only 38 catches in 2013. Last year, he clearly wasn’t the same guy, hauling in 64 Andrew Luck passes for 779 yards and a two touchdowns. He’s pushing 37 years old now, and while Chris Price of WEEI.com provided a handy chart of the best wide receiver seasons at that age (courtesy of Pro-Football Reference) and Wayne certainly could make the list, he could also very well not even make the team.
If you believe former Patriots’ stars Troy Brown and Ty Law, Wayne tapped out in the Patriots’ 42-20 win over the Colts last November. Whether that’s actually what happened is open to interpretation but that night in Indianapolis, Wayne looked positively washed up. And don’t forget John Lynch, Torry Holt and Joseph Addai, all examples of one-time greats nearing the end who were brought to Foxboro by Bill Belichick but didn’t even make it through camp.
Does any of this mean Wayne can’t help the Patriots? Hardly. Should he make the 53-man roster and catch somewhere between 30-50 passes as the No. 4 or No. 5 guy, he will have earned his money. His signing was a smart move and at least for the moment has little downside.
Let’s just make sure we keep those expectations tempered, OK?
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