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Jabar Gaffney enters Patriots' crowded receiver fray

Now that Jabar Gaffney is on board for a second tour of duty with the New England Patriots, let's speculate where he fits into the mix.

Gaffney joins a Patriots roster that's teeming with name-brands of varying repute at wide receiver, including Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, Deion Branch, Donte' Stallworth, Anthony Gonzalez, Chad Ochocinco and Julian Edelman.

Snarky tweets aside, Welker will be back as the No. 1 receiver. Lloyd figures to work on the other side, attempting to fill the role Ochocinco couldn't last season.

After that, it becomes something of a battle royale, with a case to be made for each player.

Branch was just re-signed and has been a consistent performer during two different runs in New England. Gaffney was the Washington Redskins' leading receiver last season, and Tom Brady has spoken fondly of him. Gonzalez proved during his time with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis that he can be a legitimate playmaker. Stallworth was sought out for a second run with the Patriots, and he was a legit contributor to the 18-1 team in 2007. Ochocinco? He used to go to the Pro Bowl a lot and is excellent at Twitter.

An X-factor here might be, which of these players can excel in more than one role? An ability to play special teams could be a difference-maker. This usually isn't asked of veteran players with past success, but nothing ever seems to go by the book in Bill Belichick's Playhouse, now does it?

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