By: Derek Havens
The New England Patriots were very busy on Monday, continuing to reload the team for the 2012 season. The Pats signed WR Donte Stallworth, OL Robert Gallery and TE Daniel Fells.
Bill Belichick and company have been very busy in free agency after many fans were upset for starting slow. Below is a list of the nine players the team has signed so far this off-season.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots are reloading for another run towards a championship next season. (FILE:Icon/SMI)
– DL, Kyle Love (re-signed)
– ST/W/S, Matthew Slater (re-signed)
– LB, Niko Koutouvides (re-signed)
– ST/LB, Tracy White (re-signed)
– QB, Brian Hoyer (re-signed)
– OL, Dan Connolly (re-signed)
– DL, Jonathan Fanene
– S, Steve Gregory
– WR, Anthony Gonzalez
– DE/LB, Trevor Scott
– WR, Brandon Lloyd
– TE, Daniel Fells
– WR, Donte Stallworth
– OL, Robert Gallery
– DB, Marquice Cole
– New England started off the free agency process by re-signing their own players, essentially their core special teamers. Not necessarily the big splash many fans were hoping for right off the bat, but they usually take care of their own players first.
– The defensive side of the ball has still not received an enormous amount of attention from the team thus far, however, it is still early in the process. Gregory, Fanene and Scott have been brought in to add quality depth and will all be competing for starting positions when camp comes around.
– Belichick is reloading the Pats receiving corps so far and it should create some great competition in training camp. Lloyd, Gonzalez, Stallworth have all been brought in to bolster the position. I would not say that the receiver spot is crowded, however, the philosophy seems pretty simple here. The best stay, the rest walk. Simple.
– The Gallery signing gives New England solid depth on the offensive line and also insurance if Brian Waters decides to retire. Although it should be mentioned that Waters is expected to return.
Gallery came into the league and struggled at tackle, but he has been a very good guard for many years; a great move by the front office to bring him in. This also allows second-year offensive lineman Marcus Cannon to continue to develop.
– The signing of Fells adds depth at the tight end position for next season. Only Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez were on the roster last year. The 28-year-old should be able to contribute in this offense and adds a legitimate option for New England as a third tight end.
– With the team continuing to sign veteran free agents at multiple positions, it gives them tremendous amount of flexibility when the draft comes around. Running back, linebacker and the secondary positions need to be addressed in the coming weeks. Luckily for the Pats, there are still many options available for them to continue to improve the roster.
– The New York Jets reached a one-year agreement with safety LaRon Landry. Landry visited New England over the weekend, but I think his injury concerns scared the team away. The safety market is very thin for the Pats now, but they could look to fill that void come April. Click here to see my latest NFL mock draft.
– Defensive backs Aaron Ross (Giants), Tracy Porter (Saints), O.J. Atogwe (Redskins) are still available and could be on New England’s radar. With Devin McCourty likely to stay at cornerback, safety may be the most glaring need for the team.
– Peyton Manning signing with the Denver Broncos means Patriots fans can expect a visit from Manning next year, as the Broncos are one of the teams coming to Gillette Stadium. The full NFL schedule will be released next month.
– As a closing thought, fans should remember that just because the team has signed the player, does not necessarily mean they will be on the team to start the season. It’s about creating competition and building a team stacked with the best possible players. From the looks of it, Belichick and the staff are off to a great start.
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