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A closer look at the Patriots’ signing of Anthony Gonzalez

03.17.12 at 6:21 pm ET
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Anthony Gonzalez signed with the Patriots on Saturday. (AP)

When you talk about wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez, everything must be prefaced with the statement: “If he’s healthy…”

The addition of the 27-year-old Gonzalez is an intriguing move for the Patriots. If the 6-foot, 193-pound slot receiver is over his knee problems — he’s fought through several injuries the last three years, and has only played 11 games since the end of the 2008 season — he projects as a backup for Wes Welker.

When healthy, he’s known as a good route runner who is shifty enough to create separation — in 2008, he recorded career highs with 57 receptions for 664 yards and four touchdowns. (In five seasons with the Colts — 40 games — the high school teammate of Patriots’ backup quarterback Brian Hoyer has 99 career receptions for 1,307 yards and seven touchdowns.)

If Gonzalez has enough to contribute, the player who stands to be the most impacted when it comes to offensive snaps is Julian Edelman, who has ostensibly been the backup slot receiver since he first arrived in 2009. However, Edelman has played fewer and fewer snaps at the spot over the last few seasons, even moving over to the defensive side of the ball down the stretch in 2011. If Gonzalzez is healthy, a full-time move to defensive back (while continuing his work as a returner) could be in the cards for Edelman.

There is no financial information on the contract — and his injury problems make him a huge question mark — but on the surface, the addition appears to be a positive, low-risk, potentially high-reward decision for the Patriots.

Read More: 2012 NFL Free Agency, Anthony Gonzalez, Brian Hoyer, Julian Edelman
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