In just a few minutes, the 2012 NFL League Year will officially begin, and we'll finally be able to close the door on the 2011 season. That being said, early indications are that the Patriots will be active players in free agency. The league year officially begins at 4:00 PM ET. Feel free to use this post as an open thread as today's events unfold. Until then, here are a few quick-hit thoughts on the Patriots and free agency:
- There seems to be a growing consensus that Brandon Lloyd will indeed become a Patriot, shortly after the 2012 league year begins. It will be interesting to see if news breaks quickly on this front.
- The Patriots' interest in Seahawks DL Red Bryant was first reported by Ian Rapoport, and has since been picked up by other media outlets. He seems like he could be an early free agent target.
- I think we'll see the Patriots sign a couple of their own free agents today. The names being consistently mentioned are James Ihedigbo, Matt Slater, and Dan Connolly. Just a hunch, but I'd also throw Deion Branch into that group.
- I think the Patriots will one of the first to check in on pass rusher Mario Williams, but I don't think they'll offer a contract immediately. If Williams decides to wait out the market a bit, I could see the Patriots getting further involved. However, if he's quick to jump in with the first big offer, that will almost completely eliminate any chance he has to land in New England.
- Safety is another position I could see the Patriots addressing in the first couple of days in free agency. The Patriots could have interest in Browns safety Mike Adams, as they hosted him on a free agent visit in 2009. O.J. Atogwe, just released by the Redskins, could be had for a one year, "prove it" contract that could benefit both sides.