LB Back for Another Year
The New England Patriots re-signed 12-time Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau to his second season with the team, the 18th of his career. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Inside linebacker has been one of the few glaring question marks for New England this offseason. An active free agency period filled most of the gaps with the status of cornerback Asante Samuel the remaining major concern.
Seau, 38, joined the Patriots as a free agent just prior to the start of the 2006 season after a brief retirement following three lackluster years of steady decline in Miami. In 11 games (10 starts), Seau accumulated 69 tackles (39 solo -- The Patriots press release says 70-37) with a sack and a pass defensed. He led the team in tackles twice, including with a season high 15 against the New York Jets (a 17-14 loss on Nov. 2).
New England Patriots re-signed free agent linebacker
Junior Seau today to his second season with the team,
the 18th of his career.
Seau's season ended Nov. 26 when he broke his arm on a tackle during New England's 17-13 win over the Chicago Bears. The Patriots placed Seau on injured reserve the next day.
Seau was solid last year, but I think we all can agree he's played in his last Pro Bowl. His signing will do little to placate the critics that say the Patriots linebackers, especially inside, are too old.
But there are few players on this team or any other that play with the fire and desire of Seau. (The good news is: A lot of them do happen to play in Foxboro.) Intensity counts a lot in the NFL.
Seau, purely an inside linebacker, adds a layer of flexibility (and confusion) and additional veteran leadership to the Patriots linebacking corps. Seau, while probably a second-stringer, frees up Mike Vrabel to move back (at least periodically) to his natural outside position.
Both Vrabel and free-agent prize Adalius Thomas can spell inside, but Thomas and Rosevelt Colvin will probably steadily man the outside. Tedy Brushchi, of course, will assume one of the inside starting positions.
That still leaves New England with just five proven linebackers for the four starting positions. Promising Tully Banta-Cain signed with San Francisco during free agency, so the Patriots are left with 11-year veteran Larry Izzo; third-year player Eric Alexander; Corey Mays and Pierre Woods, both in their second years; and Justin Rogers (6th-round pick), Oscar Lua (7th-rounder) and undrafted free agent Kyle Bissinger.
I'd rather have Seau on the roster than not, but let's not confuse him with a long-term solution. Of course, the Patriots have some potentially highly valuable draft picks that can be used to select a stud (Bill Belichick Patriots teams have never taken a linebacker in the first round) or package them in a major trade.
I still see the linebacker position overall as thin, but less a dire concern. That leaves cornerback (Samuel) as the primary issue. I still have reservations about running back as well.
How does re-signing Seau impact the Patriots?
This poll is closed
Solidifies and deepens ILB postition.
Adds depth, but he's just a backup.
Fills a roster spot, nothing more.
It's detrimental to the team.