NFL Rumors: Why Kenny Golladay to Patriots in free agency seems unlikely

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Darren Hartwell
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Breer: Don't expect Golladay to sign with Pats in free agency originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Several talented pass-catchers are set to hit NFL free agency on March 17. The Patriots are in the market for pass-catchers. But might they have to consider which players actually want to come to New England?

The MMQB's Albert Breer addressed that topic Tuesday as it pertains to wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who avoided the Detroit Lions' franchise tag ahead of Tuesday's deadline.

"I'd be shocked if Kenny Golladay signs with the Patriots," Breer said on NBC Sports Boston, as seen in the video above. " ... Based on the way things went in the end in Detroit, I'd be pretty surprised if Kenny Golladay wanted to latch back onto a Patriots-connected program."

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Golladay spent two-plus seasons with Matt Patricia before the Lions fired their head coach in November 2020, and there have been reports he didn't connect with his players very well while trying to implement his version of the "Patriot Way."

Patricia reportedly is back in New England on Belichick's staff, which in Breer's view could drive away a player like Golladay who may be looking for a fresh start.

In fact, Breer wonders if players on other teams with coaching ties to the Patriots -- like Will Fuller V on the Houston Texans before Bill O'Brien's firing -- may think twice about signing in New England, as well.

"With somebody like Will Fuller, does it hurt you because of what he just went through in Houston? And it's not that he has anything against Bill Belichick, but if you had that experience, do you want to go to the place that created the culture that you just lived through?

"That may not be totally fair to the Patriots. There could be guys who played with the Giants (with Joe Judge) or Dolphins (with Brian Flores) who had different experiences than that. But I certainly think that's something you have to get around, especially with the perception out there that Tom Brady was an awfully big part of what was going on here the last 20 years and it wasn't the culture that carried them to championships."

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The Patriots also don't have a quarterback locked in for 2021, which could deter pass-catchers seeking a reliable passer. But if New England can acquire a legitimate QB (Jimmy Garoppolo, perhaps?) in the near future, Belichick's track record of success could convince free agents to come to Foxboro and compete for a playoff spot.

Breer also added that "money talks:" The Patriots have the third-most cap space in the NFL this offseason (roughly $65 million prior to acquiring Trent Brown) and could hand out significant deals in free agency.