Patriots Sign CB James
How Does This Affect Samuel Situation?
The New England Patriots came to an "agreement in principle" with Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Tory James on Thursday, both ESPN and the NFL Network reported.
James is an 11-year veteran who played with Denver from 1996 through 1999 (though he didn't play in 1997), Oakland from 2000 to 2002 and Cincinnati since. The 6-foot-2, 192-pounder turns 34 next month.
James has advanced tremendously since his entry into the league. He was a backup and part-time starter for 7 years and and then, in 2004, was voted to the Pro Bowl. That year he had 61 total tackles and 8 interceptions (Tell me again why Asante Samuel got snubbed this year?). He has 429 tackles and 39 picks in his career. He's missed just two games since 1997.
If the deal goes through, James will be the tallest of New England's cornerbacks, and he certainly has skills and experience, but he's absolutely no spring chicken. That buys the Patriots a little time and maybe a little leverage in the Samuel negotiations. Signing Samuel or drafting a cornerback in the first round becomes less of an absolute necessity.