The New England Patriots are definitely a different team without Rob Gronkowski, who made a surprise announcement that he is retiring. However, Brady has a lot of other strong options at the wide receiver position. Brady is the type of field general who can manhandle a NFL defense even without weapons. Now New England has one of the best receiver corps in the league.

With the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots now must have their receiver corps stepping it up.

As the preseason started, it seemed like Bill Belichick would have to come up with something to soften the blow of his retirement. Then Josh Gordon was reinstated by the NFL and everything changed for the Patriots.

Josh Gordon helps Julian Edelman become even stronger

Josh Gordon's first appearance following his retirement was during practice on Sunday with New England. Depending on his health, he is expected to be penciled in as Brady's top wide receiver option.

His power and speed allow him to topple defensive backs. This is a tool Brady has not had during his legendary career.

With the return of Josh Gordon, it's often overlooked that Julian Edelman now has the opportunity to fall back into his role as Brady's No. 2 target. Gordon will allow Edelman to shine against single coverage. Beyond that, things are a lot less clear for Brady and New England. There are some options that could make this a talented receiving corps. The same day that Gordon returned, the Patriots brought Demaryius Thomas on board. If Thomas can stay healthy, he could also be a target for Brady.

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New receiving core bolsters Brady's offense

Thomas' height and catching make him a deep threat. He is able to connect with Brady on medium and deep routes. The other receiver that bolsters the corps is Patriots 2019 first round pick N'Keal Harry. Harry has had mixed results during the preseason, but he could become a big target for Brady. He seems like the guy who could fill the space left by Rob Gronkowski's surprise retirement.

If Harry improves and shows Brady he can be trusted, he could see more catches as the season progresses. When you combine all of this, it becomes the news other teams were not hoping to hear in 2019. The other 31 NFL teams were hoping this would be the year the Patriots fall out of Super Bowl contention. Now Brady has the ability to spread the ball around more often than he used to. That's definitely not something defenses wanted to hear.

Despite having this potentially strong receiver corps, little is guaranteed. Gordon has not played a complete 16-game season since his rookie year. Thomas is coming off a torn Achilles injury. Both Thomas and Dorsett are not guaranteed to make the roster.

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