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The Patriots likely want to upgrade their return game this offseason, and have shown interest in Browns KR/WR Josh Cribbs early in the free agent process.
The New England Patriots had a very below-average kick return game in 2012, and it's an area they'll likely look to address this offseason as a result. According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the New England Patriots are one of five teams showing interest in Browns receiver/returner Joshua Cribbs, who could help solve their issues in this area:
The New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers, Super Bowl participants this year and last, are among about five teams interested in Browns free agent receiver/special teamer Josh Cribbs, league sources said.
The other teams are the Patriots, Cowboys and Cardinals. It's a good bet Cribbs will sign with one the teams shortly after the free agency signing period begins on Tuesday. It will mark the end of Cribbs' eight-year career with the Browns
As with all of these "reported interests" we'll take them with a grain of salt until we hear more. Nonetheless, seeing Cribbs' name linked to the Patriots is intriguing. Cribbs, who will turn 30 before the season begins, has eight career kick return touchdowns and three career punt return touchdowns. In 2012, although he didn't have a return touchdown, he still recorded kick and punt return averages of 27.4 and 12.0 respectively.
Cribbs could come in and instantly become the Patriots top kick/punt return option. And while he wasn't used very much as a receiver during his eight years in Cleveland, he's a dynamic threat who would certainly be an intriguing option for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.