The NFL trade deadline came and went and the Patriots decided not to make any moves. The lack of activity is somewhat understandable considering secondary help is New England’s biggest need and the cornerback market wasn’t exactly flush with talent. However, there are still things the Patriots can do to improve their team. Namely, at wide receiver.
The Rams announced the release of wide receiver DeSean Jackson on Tuesday after they failed to find a deal on the trade market. Jackson made it clear that he wanted to seek opportunities elsewhere due to his limited role with the Rams.
Usually, a 34 going on 35-year old wide receiver who is far past his prime claiming he deserves a bigger role would be looked at with nothing more than a dismissive roll of the eyes. However, Jackson’s situation feels uniquely different. Everything Jackson’s camp has been spouting about why he fell out of favor in Los Angeles adds up. The emergence of wide receiver Van Jefferson, along with the dominance of Cooper Kupp and steady play of Robert Woods, has resulted in less of a need for Jackson despite the fact that Jackson has played well when he’s seen the field.
Just a few short weeks ago against the Buccaneers, Jackson exploded for 120 yards and a touchdown. Granted, it came against one of the worst passing defenses in football, but it was still an impressive performance. No one on the Patriots managed to get past 70 receiving yards against Tampa Bay. Weather might be partially to blame for that, but how much? Jackson’s performance proves he still has a lot left in the tank.
In fact, despite the Buccaneers’ struggles, no receiver has more receiving yards against Tampa Bay this season than Jackson. CeeDee Lamb is the only other receiver with over 100 yards against them. He doesn’t have to have 120 yards every game to make an impact for New England, but the fact that he’s capable of such a performance makes him worthy of a roster spot. It wasn’t just the Buccaneers game either. Jackson has proven that, even at his current age, he still has the speed to make big plays down the field.
STAFFORD 🚀 DESEAN JACKSON— PFF (@PFF) October 8, 2021
Jackson: 25th career catch of 60+ yards 🤯
Jackson would likely serve as the Patriots fourth receiver, primarily occupying the same role as Nelson Agholor. He played under 20% of snaps with the Rams, a little bit less than what N’Keal Harry’s snap share has been with New England this season. If Jackson can’t find the larger role he’s looking for somewhere else, the Patriots could certainly use him. If not now, perhaps a few weeks down the road. Agholor could always go down with an injury and if he does, Jackson would be the perfect replacement.
Photo: Craig Mitchelldyer – AP Photo)