With rookie Tyrone McKenzie out for the year with a torn right ACL, one natural follow-up question is: Who is available if the Patriots decide to fill the void with a veteran?
Jerod Mayo, Tedy Bruschi and Gary Guyton still top the depth chart at inside linebacker, so it's possible the Patriots stick with what they have, and invest more time in developing a rookie free agent like Antonio Appelby.
But if they decide to go with a veteran to add depth at inside linebacker, here are some possibilities with starting experience on the free-agent market:
Rocky Boiman (6-4, 236) -- The 29-year-old had a career-high nine starts last season for the Chiefs. He's played for the Titans (2002-2005) and Colts (2006-2007).
Napoleon Harris (6-3, 253) -- Most recently with the Vikings, the 30-year-old Harris reportedly visited with the Steelers this week as a possibility to replace Larry Foote.
Teddy Lehman (6-2, 238) -- At 27, injuries have limited his production over five seasons with Detroit (2004-2007) and Buffalo (2008).
Paris Lenon (6-2, 235) -- The 31-year-old started every game over the last three seasons for the Lions, and previously played for the Packers (2002-2005).
Shantee Orr (6-0, 246) -- The 27-year-old was a one-time starter in Houston (2005-2006). He played 15 games as a reserve last year in Cleveland.
Junior Seau (6-3, 250) -- Last year, the 40-year-old said the only team he'd play for is the Patriots and filled in admirably down the stretch. Perhaps he'd consider it again.
Dontarrious Thomas (6-2, 241) -- The 2004 second-round draft choice has 10 career starts over the last five seasons with the Vikings, but none in the last two years.
Nate Webster (6-0, 232) -- Entering his 10th season, he started the last two seasons in Denver, but wasn't deemed a fit for the 3-4 that Josh McDaniels hopes to implement.