New England Patriots Links 3/09/10 - Pats May Be Close To Signing Bodden, Fells

Leigh Bodden will be making his decision sometime today.

Joe Fortenbaugh (Nat'l Football Post) Pats continuing to be aggressive.

According to Adam Schefter, the Patriots are closing in on a deal with free agent tight end Daniel Fells.

The 6’4", 272-pound Fells caught 21 passes for 273 yards with three touchdowns in 2009 for the St. Louis Rams. A three-year veteran out of California-Davis, Fells is used primarily as a blocker.

Mike Reiss analyzes why a proposed Anquan Boldin trade wasn't in the cards.

"In New England, a big consideration is always the locker room," noted former NFL front-office executive Mike Lombardi, now a regular on NFL Network who also writes for the Web site National Football Post.

In the end, locker-room considerations were probably the biggest factor that squashed the possibility of Boldin coming to the Patriots.

Had they traded for Boldin and signed him to such a rich extension, they risked creating friction with someone like Welker, who prior to his injury was making a strong case for a potential pay raise over the $1.9 million he is due to earn in 2010. A team has to be careful bringing in a player from the outside and paying him an average of $8 million per season when the NFL's most productive receiver over the last three years is already on the roster and scheduled to earn one-quarter of that.

More than Welker himself, signing any player from elsewhere and making him one of the highest paid players on the club before he plays a down in a Patriots uniform can send a mixed message to others. Players keep score in the locker room, and if the Patriots didn't have veterans like Tedy Bruschi, Junior Seau, Mike Vrabel and Rosevelt Colvin at linebacker, they probably wouldn't have done it for Adalius Thomas in 2007, which is the only time they've really made such a signing in recent years.

That's probably why, assuming the reports are correct, the Patriots' interest in Boldin was tied to him playing out the final year of his contract.

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