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The New England Patriots are signing former first-round draft pick Corey Coleman to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Coleman, a slot receiver selected by the Cleveland Browns with the No. 15 overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft, has struggled to live up to expectations in the pros.
Injuries plagued his first two seasons in Cleveland, which traded him to the Buffalo Bills during training camp. Despite forking over a 2020 7th-round draft pick to acquire Coleman, the Bills—short on offensive talent—waived him during the team’s roster cutdown.
In two seasons with the Browns, Coleman totaled 56 receptions for 718 yards and five touchdowns in 19 games played. The 24-year-old hopes to reignite his disappointing career by catching passes from legendary quarterback Tom Brady.
The Patriots are taking a chance on another first-round wide receiver disappointment by signing Coleman. Last year, the Patriots acquired 2015 first-round selection Phillip Dorsett, also a slot receiver, in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts. Dorsett underwhelmed in two seasons with the Colts and was quiet in his first season with the Patriots in 2017, failing to record a touchdown with just 12 receptions on the year. But Dorsett exploded in Sunday’s victory over the Houston Texans, hauling in seven catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.
Coleman was scheduled to visit with the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday, but canceled those plans once the Patriots made him an offer.
With Julian Edelman suspended the first four games of the season, the Patriots played only three receivers on Sunday: Dorsett, Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson. Coleman has a chance to immediately contribute for New England if he can learn the system.
In addition to Coleman, the Patriots signed 27-year-old wideout Bennie Fowler.