In the hours before the NFL's "legal tampering" period begins, a flurry of veteran defensive backs have hit the open market. Alec Shane already touched on safety Adrian Wilson, released by the Cardinals, but here are a few others who have been released by their teams over the last few hours:
Aaron Ross, CB, Jaguars: Ross, 30, played in 14 games (9 starts) for the Jaguars in 2012. At 6'0" and 197 lbs, he has some length. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Ross played primarily in the LCB and slot cornerback spots for Jacksonville last year. He struggled at times, allowing QB's to have a QB rating of 109.4 when throwing against him.
Chris Gamble, CB, Panthers: Gamble, who turns 30 on Monday, played in only four games for Carolina in 2012 before going down with a season ending shoulder injury. In his last full season, in 2011, Gamble had a phenomenal season. He allowed just 45% of passes thrown his way to be completed, allowing only two touchdowns, and coming up with three interceptions. QB's throwing his direction had a quarterback rating of just 53.3.
Adrian Wilson, S, Cardinals: Alec went into detail on Wilson already. Wilson would likely come on the cheap, and would be a great veteran presence on the Patriots' backline. At 230 lbs, Wilson is a physically intimidating presence. And while he is aging, he held up well in coverage in 2012, allowing only 12 of 27 passes thrown his way to be completed, good for a QB rating of 78.8 (according to ProFootballFocus.com).
Dawan Landry, S, Jaguars: Landry, 30, is a durable, physical, and reasonably athletic safety. He had some struggles in coverage last year, but is still a solid overall player with a well rounded game that could probably start or be part of a rotation for most teams.
Regardless of whether or not the Patriots sign any of these players, it's key that they're entering the market nonetheless. As the talent pool of defensive backs in free agency deepens, it will ultimately drive down the price of some of the high priced commodities. Needy teams such as the Patriots won't have to play all of their chips on a single player such as Ed Reed. If they don't land Reed or his price is too high, they have the comfort of knowing that they have adequate alternatives available.
Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if the Patriots sought multiple low-cost veterans to add to their secondary. The team has had depth issues on the back-end for the last two years, and my guess is that they'll do everything in their power to avoid that issue in 2013.
That being said, of the preceding players, who would you most like to see the Patriots pursue?