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Patriots Sign Wide Receiver Nate Washington

New England continued to add depth to the wide receiver position, a goal coming into free agency after they were exposed in 2015 when Julian Edelman went down. The Patriots welcome Nate Washington, a free agent wide receiver who played for the Texans in 2015.

When the Patriots started suffering injuries at wide receiver last season, they had no answers. Brandon LaFell forgot how to catch, Danny Amendola was battling his own injuries but playing through as much as possible, Aaron Dobson was put on IR early, and Julian Edelman was lost for half of the regular season with a broken foot, which also hampered him upon his return. Depth is key if you are trying to win championships, and with Tom Brady's window closing, it makes sense to add as many weapons as possible.

Washington, 32, is headed into his 12th season after being signed as a rookie free agent out Tiffin College by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005. He spent four years with the Steelers before signing as a free agent with the Tennessee Titans in 2009. His best season was in 2011 when he finished with with 74 catches, 1,023 yards, and seven touchdowns. In his 11 seasons, Washington has compiled 458 receptions, 6,954 yards, 44 touchdowns, and he's averaged 15.2 yards per catch. In his one season with Houston (2015), Washington quickly ascended the depth chart and eventually started opposite DeAndre Hopkins. 

Washington doesn't have the same speed he did when he first came into the league, but he does provide the Patriots with a legitimate deep threat, something they haven't had in a long time. New England has always been good at finding slot receivers, tight ends, and running backs that can catch, but in order to open up the underneath stuff, you need speed that can get downfield and stretch the defense. If this happens and Washington is able to remain healthy, New England will be virtually unstoppable. 

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