After spending 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Reggie Wayne is heading east to join the New England Patriots. Adam Schefter confirmed the rumors on Monday, tweeting that Wayne had agreed a one-year deal with the Patriots.
Reggie Wayne and New England Patriots have reached agreement on a one-year deal, league source told ESPN.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 24, 2015
The news must be welcome for Reggie Wayne, who was released from his contract with the Colts last year and has remained a free agent ever since. The 36-year-old wide-receiver had been experiencing diminishing returns with the Colts, but his career highs are nothing to scoff at. Wayne ranks first among active NFL players in career receptions and receiving yards, meaning Reggie Wayne could still be a valuable addition to any franchise.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick seems to believe that Wayne still has great days ahead of him. Last season, Belichick praised Wayne for his experience and ability to help the Colts come back from behind.
“Yeah, he’s still really good at everything. [He’s] obviously a real smart and experienced guy; knows how to set up routes, make all of his routes look the same, does a great job of releasing and then at the top of his routes being able to create separation at just the right time when the quarterback is ready to throw. He’s been a key guy for them in critical situations and third down-type situations.”
Initially, rumors were swirling that Wayne would wind up with the Green Bay Packers as a replacement for injured wide receiver Jordy Nelson. On Sunday, Nelson tore his ACL in a preseason game against the Steelers and is officially expected to sit out the entire 2015 season before hopefully returning to the NFL in 2016.
‘”It’s difficult to lose a guy like that in a meaningless game,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told ESPN.
Nelson’s absence means that Randall Cobb will likely emerge as the Packers’ preeminent runner, with with Devante Adams possibly moving up to a starting position. It appears that if the Packers want a full-time replacement, they’ll have to keep searching as Wayne is officially off the table.
It’s currently unknown how much Wayne will earn with the Patriots, but considering the team has just $7.5 million available before they hit the salary cap, Wayne will likely take a pay cut to join the team. His most recent contract for the Colts specified $17.5 million over three years.
[image via Jared Wickerham/Getty Images]