Status: Unconfirmed - COLD (Dead now)
First reported by the ESPN.
Buzz: Keyshawn Johnson is looking for a new home, and it's possible he may join the Patriots according to an ESPN report. New England isn't afraid to sign aging veterans to see if they can help the team in 2007, and Johnson is reportedly an upgrade over the bottom of the depth chart at the position.
Reality: Whatever ESPN was thinking, it had to be something steeped in good alcohol, as the Patriots are loaded at the position. It's highly unlikely to happen. How could a guy like Keyshawn, who gets hot-headed when he doesn't get the ball, service on a roster loaded with talent?
League insiders told PatriotsInsider.com this past week that Johnson was much more likely to join the Titans, Raiders or Packers than New England. One insider even laughed at the report, asking "What about Randy Moss, Donte Stallworth and Wes Welker?" Plus they already have an aging vet possibly coming back in Troy Brown. And Kelley Washington is also on the roster.
As much as we'd like to put credence into the report, we just can't. Certainly Jabar Gaffney and Reche Caldwell were not the answer in 2006. Everyone wonders about Chad Jackson's health and if he'll be one of the draft picks at receiver to actually make the cut. To think that adding Johnson, who reportedly priced himself out of the market, can have a big impact on a roster that is now loaded with talent doesn't appear to be a realistic leap by the ESPN staffer.
Impact: (if true): If Johnson did join the Patriots, the roster would be full of one more player looking for the ball. Johnson has solid blocking skills, has the height to be successful, but doesn't seem to get open nearly as often as he needs to. He did manage over 800 yards last season for the Panthers, but it's highly unlikely that would happen with the current roster.
Johnson needed 70 passes to get 800 yards each of the past three seasons. While, Tom Brady threw over 500 passes each of the past two seasons, it isn't likely Johnson would receive that much attention in the Patriots offense with Moss, Stallworth and Ben Watson as the primary targets. To get the 800-yard production would mean that Brady would have to throw 115 passes in Johnson's direction (using Brady's 61% completion avg.) to meet those numbers. That level of attention is worth it if Johnson was the No. 2 receiver, but at best, he'd be No. 3 in New England, and probably not even that.
What probably would have happened, is that Johnson would have maybe 50 passes thrown his direction, and there would be dissention over which receiver deserved Brady's attention. It's a good thing Johnson isn't headed to New England; the end result would not have been good.
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