New England Patriots Links 3/14/12 - Day 1 Free Agency: Patriots Keep Cool

Tom E. Curran offers his knee-jerk reactions to Day 1 of free agency.

1. The Patriots traditionally tread lightly at the start of free agency. Last season was an exception. But the compressed offseason was a big reason for that as New England grabbed Chad Ochocinco and Albert Haynesworth. When the Patriots signed Rosevelt Colvin and Rodney Harrison back in 2003, both were brought aboard nearly a week after free agency opened. Adalius Thomas? He was signed the day after free agency opened. Clearly, the Patriots tend to let the water settle a bit in most cases.

3. Suffice to say this Tuesday didn't make it any easier on the Patriots when it comes to getting Wes Welker a new contract by July 15. Vincent Jackson got a five-year, $55.5M deal from the Bucs with $36M coming to him in the first three years. Pierre Garcon got five years and $42.5 million with $20.5 guaranteed. Marques Colston got five years and $40 million. Former Niners wideout Josh Morgan got a five-year deal that could convert to a two-year, $12 million deal. In other words, players who haven't been as productive as Welker are getting $8 million per with $20M or more guaranteed. It makes the ballpark figure of four years, $32 million with $20M guaranteed for Welker seem that much more reasonable a request. It could make him seek even more.

4. Brandon Lloyd, meanwhile, has gone to radio silence. Given the fact the Patriots like to do their business verrrry quietly - and that's a request they make of players they're speaking with - the less you hear from and about Lloyd, the more likely he is to be in talks with New England. And what will he and agent Tom Condon agree to becomes clouded as well, with similar players getting $8 million per season.

5. Given the number of wideouts the Redskins have signed or gone after - Garcon, Morgan and Eddie Royal - it would seem that Jabar Gaffney is going to be on the outside looking in down in Washington. An effort by the Patriots to bring back "Jab", one of Tom Brady's preferred targets, seems quite likely.

8. As they look around their division, the Patriots can't feel awful about what they see happening at this week. Brandon Marshall got dealt out of Miami. He only lit the Patriots up for 13 catches and 282 yards in two meeting in 2011. The Jets' aborted run at Peyton Manning wound up in a "sorry about that" extension for Mark Sanchez that led to "Sanchise" talking about how his new deal reminded everyone he was a team leader. And the Bills are about to pour their money into Mario Williams - a helluva player but the massive contract he'll sign is going to put strain on the whole team.

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