It may be a friendly competition, but it’s still a competition for a precious roster spot.
At a time when receiver-thin teams are dealing with disgruntled stars, the Patriots have the luxury of too many weapons at the position.
As MDS mentioned in the one-liners, the depth could make things difficult for Donte Stallworth to make the team. But it may also serve as a negotiating tool for the Patriots.
In addition to the franchised-tagged Wes Welker, the Patriots will have complicated decisions to make considering they brought Brandon Lloyd in along with Deion Branch, Jabar Gaffney and Stallworth.
They’ve already rid themselves of Chad Ochocinco, and have to figure out how to manage the roster to accommodate special teams captain Matthew Slater and punt returner Julian Edelman.
“I can’t say who will be here,” Branch told Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “As far as the competition, that’s the fun part. We’ve all been playing this game a long time. You have to love coming out, running around, making plays for your team, and I think that’s what everybody in the locker room is doing. We enjoy it.
“I promise you the guys who don’t make it, they’ll be somewhere. They’ll be somewhere.”
The depth gives the team options, but it also serves as a not-subtle reminder to Welker as he looks for a long-term deal. He’s making no noise about working under the one-year, $9.5 million deal, and recent reports said there was “no meaningful progress” on a new one. With so many options, paying a 31-year-old doesn’t seem like a priority, and they probably don’t mind him knowing that.