|Free Agent Snapshot: Donte Stallworth||05.30.11 at 1:04 am ET|
Despite the labor uncertainty, WEEI.com will present a list of 10 possible fits for the Patriots in free agency (under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement) this offseason. Here’s a look at the players we’ve profiled as part of this series thus far.
Position: Wide receiver
Weight: 220 pounds
Ready for the return of Nicco? If the Patriots were interested in adding to their depth at wide receiver, the 30-year-old veteran would be an intriguing move on a number of levels. He certainly has a familiarity with Tom Brady and the New England passing game, as evidenced by his 46 catches for 697 yards and three touchdowns as the No. 3 receiver with the Patriots in 2007. With New England expected to delve into the free-agent market in hopes of adding some veteran depth, he would certainly be a cost-effective signing in a market that could have some more expensive options.
After a season where he was dogged by foot problems that limited him to career-low eight games, he has said he’d “love” to return to the Ravens, telling reporters that he’d welcome the opportunity to re-sign with Baltimore “if the opportunity presents itself.” However, he’ll almost certainly be available, as the Ravens clearly lost faith in Stallworth late in the 2010 season — Baltimore ended up going out and getting Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss in the draft.
“The Patriots re-signing Donte would be a very smart move,” said Pete Bommarito, who has been helping Stallworth stay in shape this offseason at Florida’s Bommarito Performance Systems. “Donte is ready to roll. Last year was an unfortunate situation for him.”
(For what it’s worth, he has also expressed an interest in returning to New England — presumably, all it would take would be a wink and a smile, and he could be back in a Patriots’ uniform sooner rather than later if New England was so inclined.)
Why it might not work: He was a deep threat earlier in his career (he averaged more than 19 yards a catch two different years), but Stallworth is not that guy anymore, so if the Patriots are in the market for a deep threat, they’re probably barking up the wrong tree. As was the case with the other wide receivers we profiled here as part of this series, if New England feels that youngsters Brandon Tate and Taylor Price are ready for full-time duty, they’d probably be inclined to pass on Stallworth.
And then, there’s also the question as to whether or not Stallworth has anything left in the tank — since his career-best season with the Saints in 2005, his numbers have been on a steady decline. Whether that’s the result of a lack of continuity (he’s played for five teams in the last six years, including a season on the sidelines because of a suspension) or health/age related, it’s a question that must be addressed before teams think about signing him.
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