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Some thoughts on the early stages of free agency

Posted by Greg A. Bedard  March 13, 2012 10:10 PM

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A few thoughts after the initial rush:

  • The Patriots have been quiet so far. Does this surprise anyone? First of all, the Patriots make it known to interested parties that there will be no loose lips. If something is leaked, the Patriots could very well pull their interest. They're one of the few teams that actually enforce that.
  • Secondly, the Patriots don't have a lot of holes -- they were but a few plays from winning the Super Bowl -- and the ones they do have, it's not really necessary to spend a lot of money to fill them. Take cornerback. Provided Ras-I Dowling returns healthy and has a full offseason, the Patriots return with Devin McCourty/Kyle Arrington and Dowling as the starters, the other one as the nickel, and Sterling Moore (also with an offseason) as the dime back. That's not bad in a league where the defensive strategy is trending towards "just try to hold your own once in a while." At safety, remember the Patriots embarked training camp with Josh Barrett as the starter.
  • At both those positions, the Patriots should be able to find inexpensive veterans to compete and add depth.
  • The Patriots could really use help at the three positions they tried to address after the lockout: DE (Shaun Ellis), DT (Albert Haynesworth) and WR (Chad Ochocinco).
  • The Patriots were dealt a little bit of a blow when Seattle stepped up and re-signed DE Red Bryant. He would have been perfect to give them what Ellis did not at left end. Dolphins DE Kendall Langford could be a solid alternative but the Patriots won't overspend with the draft deep in front seven players, and Miami is trying to re-sign him.
  • At DT, there are several veterans (including Gerard Warren) who could help if cheap, like Antonio Garay. Again, the draft has depth there.
  • As far as WR, that things are all quiet on the Brandon Lloyd front is a good sign for the Patriots. I would be shocked if that doesn't happen in the next day or so. Despite his flaws, Lloyd is worth the risk with Josh McDaniels here.
  • QB Brian Hoyer is open to hearing from other teams. I wouldn't expect him to stay in a hermetically sealed room during free agency. I would be surprised if there was much of a market for him, although I would rather get him now at low money then have to play the Matt Flynn game next year.
  • Jason Cole of Yahoo!Sports reported RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis has suitors and is looking at a contract that pays him $3-4 million per season. It was nice knowing you Benny, one of the toughest and most consistent runners I've been around...but you're not worth that.
  • Don't have a handle with what the Patriots are doing with Dan Connolly and Dan Koppen at center. The Patriots would like to retain Connolly, but haven't gone far enough yet. Connolly could sign a team-friendly deal, but likely wouldn't do it until he's assured Koppen is elsewhere and won't be re-signed to be the starter.

Elsewhere in free agency....

  • Have to be impressed with the push the Bills are making with Mario Williams likely in the fold, and WR Robert Meachem coming for early visits. Meachem has never realized his talent, and Williams is a genetic freak. A front that includes Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and is pretty darn good -- and exactly what defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt has to have to run his system -- is certainly formidable, but nothing the Patriots' can't handle. The Bills are improving, sure, but I don't think the Patriots are scared or anything.
  • Devin McCourty is probably thrilled Brandon Marshall was traded out of the division by the Dolphins. Now we wait to see what the Dolphins' next big move is.
  • The Jets...supposedly they have shown interest in Brandon Meriweather at safety. Patriots fans are like..."Sweet!"
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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