Monday, March 17, 2014

Brandon LaFell Is the Opposite of Danny Amendola

The Patriots signed Brandon LaFell, formerly of the Carolina Panthers, to a three year deal.

What I like about this signing is that LaFell's strengths are the same as Danny Amendola's weaknesses.

LaFell is big. He's 6' 2" and 208 pounds, which is 3 inches taller and 25 pounds larger than Amendola.

Lafell stays healthy. He's played in 14+ games every year he's been in the League. He's played 60 games in 4 years and started all 16 last year.

Danny Amendola is a player who comes with lots of "ifs." IF he can stay on the field, IF he can avoid injury. The only if with LaFell is "If he continues to be what he's been."

He's caught 36+ passes in all 4 of his seasons. He's caught for 600+ yards in each of his last 3 seasons. In the last 2 years he's averaged about 3 catchers per game for 43.5 yards.

His numbers are far from eye-popping. He's clearly not a game-changer at wide receiver. If this were baseball, I'd say he's like a #3 or #4 starter in the rotation. An innings eater. Or maybe a middle reliever. You don't win because of him but he does help you win.

And that's where he currently fits in on the Patriots roster. Let's just assume you can't rely on Amendola to stay healthy. The WR depth chart goes: Julian Edelman, LaFell, then Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson. With LaFell in there, there's a less severe drop off from Edelman to Thompkins and Dobson. That means less pressure on those sophomore receivers, and someone besides Edelman that Brady can target.

He's an innings eater. He's a receptions eater.

I still think the Patriots could use more help at wide receiver, but the market is drying up. It's getting close to last call and the Patriots seem to be considering going home with psychopath Kenny Britt. I typically don't mind low-risk/high-reward signings like Britt would be, however I think adding uncertainty to an already very uncertain position might not be very sound. Not without finding another pass catcher with more reliability on and off the field. If you had a group of running backs with fumbling issues, would you address that issue by signing another one with butterfingers?

Then again, Britt is 6' 3." And he might be Building 19 cheap.*

*For those who don't know what Building 19 is, it used to be a really cheap store. Cheaper than Wal-Mart cheap