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New England Patriots Links 1/22/10 - Patriots Free Agents Waiting on Word

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<em>Ben Watson is one of nine unrestricted free agents waiting to  learn their status with the Patriots.</em>
Ben Watson is one of nine unrestricted free agents waiting to learn their status with the Patriots.

Ian Rapoport reports the Patriots are in a holding pattern with many, if not all, of their free agents.

Coach Bill Belichick told at least two of his players without contracts for 2010 that he will address their status in early February, sources said. Barring an unexpected turn of events, the belief is the rest of them also received that message.

The team has nine unrestricted free agents, including nose tackle Vince Wilfork, cornerback Leigh Bodden, tight end Benjamin Watson, defensive end Jarvis Green and running back Kevin Faulk. Guard Logan Mankins and kicker Stephen Gostkowski, both Pro Bowlers, will be restricted free agents if, as expected, there is an uncapped year.

Players such as Bodden, Green and Faulk have said they would like to return to the Pats. Wilfork, who huddled this week with his camp to create a plan for the offseason, may be hit with a franchise tag. It’s a designation he does not want.

DJ Gallo (ESPN) Pro Bowl roster changes and replacements could lead to the best game in the event's history.

Your 2010 AFC Pro Bowl quarterbacks depth chart used to look like this: Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady. Wow. Stacked. So stacked that Ben Roethlisberger -- 100.5 passer rating, 4,328 yards, two Super Bowl rings -- was only an alternate. Then Brady backed out. Rivers, too. And Peyton Manning very likely will have other things to prepare for that week. So that cleared a spot for Roethlisberger … but he turned it down to rest his injured shoulder. Your current AFC Pro Bowl quarterbacks depth chart? Matt Schaub, Vince Young and … er, umm … TBD. That's just one position on one of the teams.

Twelve roster changes have been made so far, and 24 Pro Bowlers will be in action on Sunday with the Jets, Vikings, Colts and Saints. The winners won't go to the Pro Bowl, and most of the losers won't want to play. Many more roster spots will come open to lesser players. You know what this all means? Greatest. Pro Bowl. EVER! No one wants to see legitimate NFL stars going through the motions, trying not to get hurt. That's why the ratings stink every year. We want the Woe Bowl, not the Pro Bowl.

Do you realize we are just a few more roster openings away from getting to see JaMarcus Russell try to throw the ball? Behind the Buffalo Bills offensive line? To Braylon Edwards? I can't wait. Every play will hold the potential for unimaginable hilarity. We are so close. Let's make this game as bad as possible. I want it to be crazy bad. I want to see Norv Turner coach against Wade Phillips. I want to see Nate Kaeding kick. Wait, what? Really? Those guys are already in the Pro Bowl? Oh, yes. Yes, yes, yes. Appointment television next Sunday night on ESPN.