By Aaron Jackson,

With Julian Edelman set to be suspended for the first four games of the season, the New England Patriots find themselves with a possible need a wide receiver. Certainly, they have internal options to fill the gaps, but many of them are unproven, or at best partially proven. Given that Edelman will likely need time when he returns to get back to 100% (he is coming off a major injury remember) I think it’s possible they may need someone to fill that gap for almost half the season. Let’s see if the free agent market has any interesting names.

1. Dez Bryant: Whelp, that’s certainly an interesting one. Bryant has been a bit of a head case over the years, but no one can deny his talent. The question is how much money he wants, and are the Patriots willing to sign someone much more than a band-aid. Bryant is certainly not the type of player you sign for half a season – if he is playing in New England it’s likely on a full year or more likely multi-year deal. This seems like a bit of a pipe dream.

2. Michael Floyd: He’s at least familiar with New England and their systems, though he never really did much for the Patriots. Believe it or not he’s still only 28 years old but brings plenty of off-the-field baggage with him.

3. Dontrelle Inman: At 6’3” Inman is one of those players that just looks like he should be good. But the numbers haven’t backed that up much. Over his 5-year career, mostly with the San Diego Chargers, he’s caught 130 balls and scored 8 touchdowns. He’s not really a slot guy really, which would probably hurt his odds.

4. Eric Decker: Decker might be the best fit on this list, but he’s also the oldest. At 31 he’s probably on the edge of retirement, which is backed up by his lackluster numbers. He started half of the Titans’ games last year, but only caught 54 passes. He does have three thousand-yard seasons under his belt and would probably be more willing than most to only play half a season.

5. Jeremy Maclin: Like Decker, the 30-year-old might be living off name value than anything else to this point. Still, he’s shown he can be productive throughout his career, and has been incredibly healthy, so injury risk would seem to be minimal.

Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.