With the offseason comes a new season full of questions and what if’s, especially when it comes to the draft, and the signing of free agents. This years draft, in my humble opinion, is full of talent that is waiting to be picked harvested.
But before we embrace the draft, free agency is on the radar. Many great Patriots have been picked up in free agency, Rodney Harrison was signed in 2003 and became a key component of New England’s defense. How could we forget the signing frenzy New England went on in 2007 which was headlined with Wes Welker and Randy Moss. This years free agent market is richer than years past with some quality, young talent. Here is who I think the Pats should sign. Let it be known that I believe the Patriots should resign Talib and Edelman before doing anything else this offseason. Them along with one or two of the guys from this list could push New England to the next level. Here are the free agents I believe the Patriots should seriously consider signing.
Scott Chandler- TE Buffalo Bills
Chandler is a large human being weighing in at 260 and standing 6’7". His size gives him a great advantage over many other TE in the NFL, and while he will not wow you with any phenomenal athletic ability, he is a huge target in the red zone and can block pretty well too. He is physical and quick and would essentially be another version of Gronk. Chandler can run solid vertical routes and is a huge target in the red zone. As much as I hate to admit it, there is no promise that Gronk will stay healthy and Chandler would certainly help if, God forbid, Gronk goes down again. Do not be surprised if BB takes a different path and goes after a TE in the draft. Regardless, Chandler has the potential to be lethal weapon on the field and would be a good fit in New England.
Michael Johnson- DE Cincinnati Bengals
Johnson is one of my favorite defensive free agents this year. He is very talented, and at 6’7" and 270 pounds is a massive human being with a ton of natural talent. There is no question that he would be a great compliment to Chandler Jones on the edge. He is fast and physical and on top of all this he has a lot of room to develop only being 26. Adding Johnson would turn the Patriots defensive line into a force to be reckoned with. Johnson can be a plug in the middle and stop the run, or use his athleticism to rush the passer on the outsides. It would be great to see Johnson sporting a Pats jersey come next year.
New England’s offensive line was spectacular at some points and disappointing at others. Ryan Wendall played sub par this season and a change needs to be made. Alex Mack is that change. Mack is a underrated center that has some great talent. At 6’4" and 311 pounds he is a bigger than average center, but still moves with great athleticism. He is a great run blocker, a solid pass blocker and does a great job picking up a blitz.With him only being 28, he has a ton of potential. Mack would be a great fit in New England, especially if we continue to see a ground and pound offense. Mack will come with a bigger price tag than other free agent OL which could deter him from New England.
TJ Ward- CB Cleveland Browns
TJ Ward is a hard hitting safety out of Cleveland. He has a great nose for the football and with the question marks surrounding the man next to Devin McCourtey next season, Ward would make an excellent fit. Ward would serve as a bruiser safety that New England has not seen since Rodney Harrison. What sticks out to me when watching Ward is his sure tackling ability. Ward can come up on a running back and make a great tackle, or wrap up an elusive receiver to cut down on yards after the catch. Ward is also young and has room to grow, only being 27. While all sounds fine and well with TJ Ward, he might be another free agent with a high price tag, which again could deter him from New England.
Hakeem Nicks had a rough go last year in New York. While the season was full of losses, his individual season was not much better and chances are he will be looking for a new home. Nicks is a big guy standing at 6’1" and weighing in at 208 pounds. Nicks is the deep threat that New England could use. While big receivers Dobson showed promise this season, it would not hurt at all to add another weapon to Tom Brady’s arsenal. Hakeem Nicks has a great ability of going up and attacking the football, runs solid deep routes and is tough to bring down after the catch. Nicks would be a great fit in New England’s offense. The downside with Nicks is his off field problems. In the past we have seen the Pats bring in free agents with off field problems and turn them into big time players. Nicks could be part of that group if he signs with New England.
These players would all make an impact in New England almost right away. The Patriots are a few players away from being back in the Super Bowl. We all saw what Brady did this year with a seriously lacking talent group. The defense also held their own without some key pieces. With the addition of a few free agents and some solid draft picks, we could see our beloved New England Patriots back in Super Bowl contention.
Let me know your thoughts and opinions!