TODAY’S TOPIC: As Usual, Quiet Start to Free Agency for the Patriots, But Moves May Be Coming:
Day one of free agency was about as eventful as could have been expected for the Patriots on Wednesday, with the team showing interest in a couple of players who ended up with big contracts elsewhere. The one player they did land may be someone who no one will care much about until September when things like special teams really begins to matter.
The team added veteran LB Ramon Humber yesterday, with the former member of the Saints having been a key special teams player and he’ll also provide some depth at linebacker for New England. The move also came on the same day the team released linebacker Dane Fletcher, who according to reports is expected to retire.
But the bigger story was the fact the team showed some serious interest at receiver and running back on Wednesday, with the team obviously looking to get stronger at a couple of key skill positions offensively.
When it came to receiver, the Patriots found themselves in the usual position of having to show restraint while sitting back and watching other teams overspend trying to add talent to their roster. They kicked the tires on seven different players, including Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Anquan Bolden, Travis Benjamin, James Jones, Nate Washington and Rishard Matthews.
Of that group, two of them, Marvin Jones (Detroit), Benjamin (San Diego), are already off the table and according to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN, Matthews joined them after agreeing to terms with Tennessee. Another, Sanu, initially was mentioned in reports that had him set to sign with Atlanta, with the Falcons offering a reported $7-million per season deal. However, reports now say the veteran will visit New England, although if the reports are true it seems like a long-shot given what Atlanta is offering him. Their offer vastly exceeds Julian Edelman’s salary from the 4-year, $17 million deal he signed back in March of 2014 and it would be tough to imagine them paying a new player more money than their biggest contributor. So unless Sanu is willing to play for less to catch passes from Tom Brady and contend for a title, he may be priced too high for the Patriots.
Mike Giardi of CSNNE reported that the team has spoken to Boldin’s camp and the veteran wants to play for a contender. According to Spotrac, the veteran has made $62.2 million over his 13-year career, so he’s obviously made plenty of money. Now the only question will be if the 35-year old veteran would want to come to Foxboro. However, as intriguing as it might be to have Boldin in a Patriots uniform, one concern may be that as we’ve seen, older receivers in the past have been terrific during the regular season before eventually wearing down and running out of gas in the postseason. Adding a young receiver with long-term potential would be the obvious preference, so it will be interesting to see how things continue to unfold.
James Jones is 31 and is coming off a career high in receiving yards (890) with Green Bay last season. Giardi reports the Patriots have also spoken to his camp, and he remains unsigned at this point.
Another interesting note is the fact that, according to Pro Football Talk, the Patriots are showing interest in Broncos running back C.J. Anderson, who is a restricted free agent. The Broncos tendered him at the lowest level, and Denver would have five days to match any offer he received. The last notable name the Patriots attempted to steal away was Emmanuel Sanders, who the Patriots tried to take from Pittsburgh in 2013. The move got Sanders a raise but he didn’t reward New England when he eventually hit free agency and instead signed with the Broncos.
One name that garnered a lot of attention and was talked about as a great fit in New England before free agency kicked off was Matt Forte, who signed with the Jets. They saw one of their own sign with another team, with Chris Ivory joining Jacksonville.
One final name that had been mentioned was Benjamin Watson, who hit the free agent market and some had wondered if a potential reunion with New England might be in the cards. He ended up signing with the Ravens Wednesday night.
So for now, the Patriots will continue exploring their options as we head into day two and there is definitely still a long way to go. But at this point there weren’t any surprises. Just business as usual for this team.
5 Best Links for Today:
3) Patriots personnel director Caserio at Rutgers pro day – Phil Perry – (CSNNE)
4) Patriots, LaAdrian Waddle reportedly agree to two-year deal – Henry McKenna (Boston.com)
5) LeGarrette Blount says he wants to return to Patriots – Jim McBride (Boston Globe)
Cowboys should target Patriots’ backup QB – (ShreveportTimes.com)
NFL strips Chiefs of two draft picks for tampering with Jeremy Maclin – Michael David Smith (PFT)
Broncos left with only question marks at quarterback after Brock Osweiler’s departure – David Ramsay (Gazette.com)
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
“There’s bears everywhere out there. I was terrified the whole time. We had bear spray on the golf carts, because we went golfing a few times. It was an ongoing joke that if you were in the woods, it would be like, ‘Bring the bear spray!’ But yeah, they see bears all the time, there’s bear attacks all the time out there. It’s crazy.” – Julian Edelman via NESN.com talking about his trip to Montana where he played golf and trained with Brady last offseason.
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