The New England Patriots are in desperate need of a wide receiver, and the good news is that there will be no shortage of options for them when free agency begins next month.

But the best candidate for both short and long-term success may be Robby Anderson.

No, Anderson does not have the track record of A.J. Green or Emmanuel Sanders (let's not even discuss Amari Cooper, because the chances of him leaving Dallas seem slim to none), but what he does have on his side his health and youth.

Also, Anderson could very well have some untapped potential.

The 26-year-old has spent the first four seasons of his NFL career with the New York Jets, a team that has been trapped in quarterback hell forever. The future does look fairly bright for Sam Darnold, but at this stage of his young career, he is far from a top-flight passer.

Anderson has never played with an elite quarterback (or even a really good one), and yet, he has posted some decent numbers over the course of his tenure, most recently catching 52 passes for 779 yards and five touchdowns in 2019.

His best year came in 2017, when he hauled in 63 receptions for 941 yards and seven scores.

Imagine, then, what Anderson can do in a strong, well-coached offense?

Outside of Julian Edelman, the Patriots don't have all that much in their receiving corps. Mohamed Sanu was a disappointment after being acquired at the trade deadline. N'Keal Harry is nothing but potential right now.

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Let's not even get started with the tight ends, who were an abject disaster this past year.

New England is going to add numerous pass-catchers this offseason. That much we know for sure, because, well, the Pats really don't have much of a choice.

Of course, a lot of what the Patriots do surely depends on whether or not Tom Brady returns, but they need receivers regardless, so they will definitely improve that area of their roster with or without Brady.

But based on the fact that New England has to begin looking toward the future even if Brady comes back (he will be 43 at the start of next season), Anderson could represent the best option.

He is already an established deep threat, and while he isn't elite, he has room to get better, and he has shown improvement in his route-running ability over the last couple of seasons.

And again, he is just 26 years old, so Anderson could be around for a while.

Now, to be clear, I'm not saying the Pats should simply sign Anderson and just stop there. They could always add a couple of wide outs in free agency to really bolster their aerial attack.

What I am saying is that it would probably be wise to focus on Anderson for all of the factors already mentioned, not to mention that he has only missed two games throughout his entire NFL career while fellow free-agent wide outs such as Green and Sanders have major injuries in their rearview mirrors.

Anderson will be costly, but he would be a great pickup for a Patriots club that is sorely in need of a player of his caliber.