by Scott Benson

picAs the free agency begins to wane and the draft approaches, the Pats made two more roster moves yesterday that further shape the team for 2009 and beyond. They retained a useful free agent of their own while adding a veteran flyer to their remodeled receiver corps.

Yeah, Joey Galloway is older than Shawn Springs and a foot injury shelved him for most of last year.

Just prior, he had experienced a renaissance in Tampa, bundling three consecutive 1000 yard seasons at about 60 grabs per. A quick look over at Scouts Inc. reveals that Galloway – presuming the foot problems were just temporary – can still run the perimeter and stretch the defense with his outside speed. The 15-16 yards a catch average in recent years seems to bear that out. Though from what I read, we shouldn’t expect to see him produce in the middle of the field often.

Sure, maybe Galloway’s career crossed over to the other side last year, and we’ll need John Edward to get a sniff of it. If that’s so, it’s just a one year deal. It’s worth a gamble in the event that he can get a second wind for another year.

For me, it’s all about who will replace Jabar Gaffney as the Patriots third receiver. It will remain an open question for awhile. Galloway – like Greg Lewis – presents an interesting contrast to Gaffney; the deep threat in place of the intermediate possession receiver. If a healthy Galloway can cause opposing defenses to pause before stacking the line or loading up coverages on Bassmaster Randy Moss, the ripples could be felt all the way to the Pats running game.

I don’t figure this, or the trade for Lewis, means that the Pats are out of the receiver market when the draft rolls along in another month.  New England may have Moss (2010), Lewis (2011), and Wes Welker (2011) tied up for at least two more seasons, but Matt Slater is the only ‘young’ receiver they have, when he’s not playing safety. With four picks in the top 58 and two more in the next 50 (with the expected Samuel comp pick), the Pats should perhaps keep an eye open for the chance to get younger at receiver.

Elsewhere, the Pats made the same sort commitment to Mike Wright that they did with Jarvis Green in 2005. The ‘sixth man’ defensive lineman with the multi-year deal, worth multi-millions.

Wright’s four-year $7.5 million dollar deal is said to have performance escalators that could add an additional $10 million to his paycheck, although it’s John Clayton saying that, so consider the source. Anyway, if Wright plays his cards right, his deal should rival the five-year pact that paid Green $13 million in 2005.

With Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork both reaching the end of their contract, it was thought the Pats could ill afford to lose the steady Wright, who’s played all three defensive line positions. At times last season he stood out in relief of the injured Ty Warren, even flashing a surprising closing burst as an interior pass rusher.

Wright and Warren (2013) are now the only d-linemen under contract beyond next season. Here again, it seems likely the Pats will consider both ends and tackles when the draft convenes.