New England Patriots third-year wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell will be a key return in the team’s offense heading into the 2018 NFL season.
Entering his 19th NFL season, future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Tom Brady will have two of his top weapons back in Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. But, one other key return to the New England Patriots offense will be third-year receiver Malcolm Mitchell.
Following an impressive rookie campaign, the Georgia Bulldogs alum missed the entire 2017 season due to a nagging knee injury.
Brady and the Patriots’ offense made up for the loss of Mitchell, primarily due to the clutch play of Danny Amendola and the resurgent dominance of Gronkowski, but there were times a receiver like Mitchell were missed.
As basically a possession outside receiver, Malcolm Mitchell’s chemistry with Tom Brady shined through towards the end of the 2017 season and into the playoffs. Not only did he emerge as a reliable target, he made several key plays in the Super Bowl LI victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
That performance alone added excitement to what Mitchell would bring to the offense the following season, especially with the addition (at the time) of burner Brandin Cooks. That excitement quickly died down when Mitchell was placed on injured reserve heading into the season with a designation to return.
Although Mitchell did return practicing with the team, he never made it back on the field. While he is expected to be ready for OTAs and mini-camp, it will be an important stretch for the young receiver to prove he is durable.
With the number of wide receivers the Patriots have competing for roster spots, any sign of regression with the knee injury could challenge any guarantee of a roster spot for the former third-round pick.
Phillip Dorsett takes pay cut
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the New England Patriots are reportedly restructuring the contract of wide receiver Phillip Dorsett after declining to pick up his fifth-year option.
Essentially Dorsett will be taking a pay cut as his roster bonus due on the 5th day of training camp will be reduced from $450K to $150K. Other restructured incentives include a $100k in per-game roster bonuses and $150K in reception incentives.
What it all means?
Dorsett, who was acquired in a deal with the Indianapolis Colts for Jacoby Brissett, will be playing for a new contract in 2019. With the number of receivers the Patriots will enter camp with, he could also be playing for a roster spot.
With the return of Julian Edelman and Malcolm Mitchell, Dorsett will compete with Chris Hogan, Kenny Britt, Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson, Cody Hollister, Riley McCarron and rookie Braxton Berrios.