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New England Patriots Wisely Chose Brandon LaFell Over Brandon Marshall in 2014 Offseason

Something interesting about the 2014 offseason has surfaced in recent days. It appears that former Chicago Bears’ and current New York Jets’ wide receiver Brandon Marshall was on the New England Patriots’ radar last spring. Instead of trading for Marshall, the Patriots wisely stuck with Brandon LaFell as their perimeter receiver.

Although he didn’t elaborate on the details, Marshall stated that the Pats were mulling over a multiple-team trade for his services. It’s intriguing to think about Tom Brady having Marshall at his disposal, but the Patriots prudently took a different direction.

LaFell was quietly one of the Patriots’ most important players en route to the Super Bowl XLIX victory. His best game of the season actually came against Marshalls’ Bears, as the former Panther racked up 124 yards and a touchdown on 11 receptions.

On the season, LaFell recorded 74 receptions for 953 yards and seven touchdowns. At 6-foot-2 with exceptional tackle-breaking ability, LaFell was the weapon on the outside the Patriots sorely needed to complement Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski.

What made LaFell better than Marshall? For starters, LaFell had a lot to prove in his fifth NFL season. While he was valued in Carolina, the Panthers didn’t give LaFell an opportunity as a main contributor in the passing attack, although his numbers improved steadily each year. The Patriots took note of LaFell’s rising stock, and smartly plucked him out of the free agency pool.

Playing with a chip on his shoulder and looking to prove his worth, LaFell was a quick and willing learner in the Patriots’ offense. While Marshall would have certainly been effective, he also would have carried some baggage into New England. His personality may have clashed with the no-nonsense nature of the Patriot Way; in contrast, LaFell fully bought into the program, and produced results.

Don’t forget, LaFell pulled in the winning touchdown grab in that memorable Divisional Round win over the Baltimore Ravens. He also caught a touchdown in Super Bowl XLIX. As Patriots fans, we are forever indebted to him for those contributions to the super season of 2014.



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Neil S. Schwartz

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