The Patriots have been adding players at a dizzying pace the past couple of days, so let’s try to reset where the roster stands.
It will change in a minute.
Including tendered free agents Wes Welker, Brian Hoyer and Kyle Love (who don’t count until their tenders are signed), we have the Patriots for 68 players against the 80-man limit.
Here’s a look:
I’m not real big on saying, “Well, they signed this player so this player is toast,” but I did have a couple thoughts.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Deion Branch is back at the veteran’s minimum, and I’m not opposed to Chad Ochocinco being back at a massive restructure, but the signings of Lloyd and Stallworth makes me think Ochocinco is just about done here.
Areas where they’re still light on numbers and would use free agency: veteran RB (Green-Ellis?), end (recent visitor Luis Castillo?), cornerback and safety. The latter two could be addressed in the draft.
Thoughts on the individual signings, which as a group I like because they’re all good football players who at the minimum will increase competition and depth, which were lacking last season:
- WR Brandon Lloyd: Smart pickup because the Patriots now have an X receiver who can a) catch and b) knows the offense. He’s tremendous in the air and gives the Patriots a legit receiver to take some shots with. I’m not worried much about his baggage, at least in the first year, because of the presence of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. And the Patriots, with Tom Brady and a solid core, can put up with just about anything.
- WR Donte Stallworth: A solid player with much to prove, and he’ll have to do that in camp.
- WR Anthony Gonzalez: Good ballplayer who has had a terrible run with injuries the past three years. He’ll have to prove he can stay healthy. He can’t be counted on.
- TE Daniel Fells: Patriots desperately needed depth, especially behind Aaron Hernandez. He’s missed time his first two seasons and the offense struggles too much when he’s out. Fells is an easy plug-and-play guy at the Patriots “F” position, which is a TE/WR hybrid.
- G/T Robert Gallery: Long coveted by Bill Belichick, the 6-7, 325-pounder gives the Patriots a veteran presence they lack and allows Marcus Cannon to develop at a slower pace. Gallery can play guard and tackle so he’s good to have on Sundays with the 46-man roster.
- DE/DT Jonathan Fanene: Good, versatile player that can do a lot of things on the line. He can be stout against the run when needed, and he also has terrific feet to rush the passer.
- DE/LB Trevor Scott: He is likely to give the Patriots protection at both hybrid end behind Andre Carter when he’s healthy (and perhaps Mark Anderson) and behind Rob Ninkovich, who played way too many snaps at times last year.
- S Steve Gregory: Can play a bunch of different positions in the secondary. He can start next to Patrick Chung if need be, but the Patriots will probably be hoping to use him in different packages. They also need depth because Patrick Chung gets beat as well. The Patriots just need a bunch of alternatives at safety because it takes a lot to get through a season.
- CB Marquice Cole: A really good special teams player who gives the Patriots better depth at cornerback, where they’ve been thin.