Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE
The Patriots set the defense in their crosshairs as they bring in two savvy and long-tenured veterans in for visits on Friday.
Before the Amen-dust has even been given a chance to settle, the Patriots waste no time and immediately target the other side of the ball. NFL.com's Albert Breer reports:
Wilson, 33, is the least surprising name of the duo as the Patriots were fully expected to bolster their secondary via free agency. After New England showed seemingly minimal pursuit in the Ed Reed sweepstakes, the need to enlist a cerebral, in-the-box safety suddenly became a top priority with the departure of Patrick Chung to the Philadelphia Eagles and a still-unpolished Tavon Wilson the heir apparent.
Wilson, spending all 12 of his NFL seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, has compiled quite the professional résumé including 27 interceptions, 25.5 sacks and five Pro Bowl selections. Wilson's appearances became more and more scarce in nickel situations for the Cardinals last season, but a contract extension last July would indicate that his March 8 release is more of a cost-saving measure than a strictly performance-based one. Fellow safety starter Kerry Rhodes was aso released.
Abraham, 34, was another cap casualty after recording 10 sacks for the Atlanta Falcons just last season. Abraham spent his first five seasons with the New York Jets and the last six with Atlanta, becoming the Falcons' all-time sack leader with 64.5.
Abraham is the NFL's active sack leader with 122--including seven seasons with double-digit sacks--and would project to be a situational pass rusher alongside Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich, who combined for 14 sacks last season. Abraham's durability is a concern as he turns the not-so tender age of 35 in May, but with three straight seasons with at least 9.5 sacks, there should be more than enough in the tank to add some teeth to an inconsistent quarterback pursuit.