No. 1: New England Patriots
Unlike the Colts last season, the New England Patriots didn’t have too big a statistical deal putting up numbers in the passing game. By year’s end, the Pats managed 3,961 yards through the air, which was good enough for eighth best in the regular season.
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But those numbers are somewhat deceiving. New England had all kinds of trouble at wide receiver outside of slot receiver Julian Edelman, whose 1,117 receiving yards inflated the passing stats from quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady’s eventual future, be it in New England or somewhere else, remains a big question mark. Hunches lead many to believe Brady returns. Yet that doesn’t change the fact head coach Bill Belichick needs some more receiving help. Bringing aboard wide receiver Mohamed Sanu didn’t help. Then-rookie N’Keal Harry didn’t look sharp last year, and embattled wideouts Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon didn’t pan out, either.
The 49ers could do Belichick a bit of a return favor, considering the future Hall of Fame head coach traded quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the Niners in exchange for a second-round pick.
Marquise Goodwin could thrive in a situation like the one the Patriots have, serving as a field-stretching weapon for Brady, assuming he returns, and alleviating a lot of the pressure on Edelman in 2020.
Granted, the 49ers wouldn’t ask for much of anything in return. But they’d get something, clear some cap space and give New England an additional weapon in order to keep its level of dominance alive for another year.