As we ease out of 2009 and slide into 2010, the same process starts anew for every team in the NFL: that of evaluating their current coaching staff and roster, deciding who to cut and keep, tracking college prospects, and examining the free agent market for talent. We all know Belichick absolutely LOVES free agents. He loves trying to get a "washed up" veteran who turns out to be a star. This year, he had a few misses (Joey Galloway anyone?), but he's allowed a few mistakes I guess. Before taking a look at who's out there, let's focus on our free agents, shall we?
|Pos||Player Name||FA Status||Previous Team||Current Team|
|RB||Kevin Faulk||UFA||New England Patriots||Free Agent|
|TE||Billy Miller||UFA||New England Patriots||Free Agent|
|TE||Benjamin Watson||UFA||New England Patriots||Free Agent|
|PK||Stephen Gostkowski||UFA||New England Patriots||Free Agent|
|P||Chris Hanson||UFA||New England Patriots||Free Agent|
|OG||Logan Mankins||UFA||New England Patriots||Free Agent|
|OG||Stephen Neal||UFA||New England Patriots||Free Agent|
|DL||Derrick Burgess||UFA||New England Patriots||Free Agent|
|DL||Jarvis Green||UFA||New England Patriots||Free Agent|
|DL||Le Kevin Smith||UFA||New England Patriots||Free Agent|
|DL||Vince Wilfork||UFA||New England Patriots||Free Agent|
|LB||Eric Alexander||UFA||New England Patriots||Free Agent|
|LB||Tully Banta-Cain||UFA||New England Patriots||Free Agent|
|LB||Pierre Woods||UFA||New England Patriots||Free Agent|
|CB||Leigh Bodden||UFA||New England Patriots||Free Agent|
I've italicized the FA's I think we should keep - YMMV. It's pure emotion at this point with very little analysis; I leave that to smart people like The Hill and Comedic.Sans. Moving on...
Given the absolute silence from Gillette Stadium, I wouldn't surprise me in the least if Vince Wilfork were franchised. I don't see anyone else on the list worthy of that "distinction". He's arguably the best 3-4 NT in football and proved this year that he can be moved around the line and be productive. If Kraft, Inc. decides not to give him a contract, he'll get the tag.
Now, onto the available FA's in the NFL as of today. Who we give a second look will be directly related to what spot we need to fill on our current roster AND who we plan on dumping from the previous list. In some cases, it could be who we plan on trading away or cutting (at least Adalius Thomas has another career pedaling BBQ sauce).
Without looking at college prospects or the FA list, there are a few burning needs on this team: WR, rushing OLB/DE, OL not necessarily in that order. I'm partial to rushing OLB/DE, so I'll start there: Julius Peppers. Unless the Carolina Panthers decide to slap with a second franchise tag, Peppers is on the market. The question is will he be expensive? Probably. But Carolina will definitely franchise him, trying to get some value (ie: draft picks, etc...). Is he worth it? Considering our anemic pass rush, maybe so.
Looking at WR's, the Ravens' Kelley Washington is looking to get more playing time. Could he be a valid 3rd receiver? How about the Broncos' Brandon Marshall? Word is he's looking to draw interest. Pickings are a bit slim, I know. Hopefully our Brandon Tate is healed up and ready to rock.
OL? I'll leave that to our resident PhD of the pigpile, JohnHannahRules; I'm less knowledgeable on the 300 pounders.
Where you at? What's our needs? Any guys on the FA list you'd be interested in? Let's hear it.