Ever since Randy Moss and Bill O'Brien had their little blowout, which basically ended Moss' stint in New England, the Patriots have been in need of an "X receiver."

They've more than gotten by without one, winning a Super Bowl and getting to another one, since Moss left town.

But. Ya know. It'd be nice.

The chances that the Pats would land a top-shelf wide receiver this off-season are again slim as the two big names that will be discussed in the coming weeks (the Bears' Alshon Jeffery and the Lions' Calvin Johnson) both have enormous price tags attached to them. Oh, and it seems as though Bill Belichick thinks that the "deep threat receiver" is just about as important as the running back position these days (i.e. they really don't matter in today's NFL ... or at least in the Patriots' current offense).

Patriots fans hoping to see either Jeffery or Johnson land in Foxboro need to simply hope that Belichick does a complete 180 on the subject. And believe it or not, there's a chance of that happening. Belichick is constantly trying to "change with the times." What was in two years ago in the NFL is passe now. 

We saw Belichick try to emulate the Peyton Manning Colts in the late 2000s when Tom Brady suddenly became a statistical giant. We saw him bring in the dynamic cornerback duo of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner on the heels of the Seahawks winning with a terrific secondary.

Maybe, just maybe BB, will change his mind on the matter of outside receiver.

Not helping that cause is, again, the money situation. The Lions will take a whopping $24 million cap hit next year due to Johnson's current contract. As for the money Jeffery will command in free agency, last year's top free agent wide receiver Torrey Smith got a beefy, five-year, $40 million contract from the 49ers which included $22 million in guaranteed money. Jeffery is much more highly regarded than Smith around the league and would want to blow those numbers out of the water.