It seems as if the Patriots have just signed potential defensive lineman Marcus Stroud. He used to be an elite player in the league, but it seems as if a lot of the tread has gone from his tires. The signing of Stroud, which might come as a surprise to some, is very similar to the signing of Gerard Warren and Damione Lewis during last year's free agency period. In the end, the Patriots only end up keeping Warren on the roster and he was one of the most consistent defensive players on the roster. He wasn't a game changer, but he was a solid performer on a defensive line wrecked with injury.
It was generally accepted that if the Patriots were going to bring in a veteran presence for next season, they would just re-sign Warren for another season or two. The addition of Stroud could throw a wrench into that scenario if the contract is expensive enough to prevent the Patriots from picking up Warren. There is always the chance that the Patriots will sign both Stroud and Warren and let them duke it out for the final roster spot during the pre-season.
My question for you is simple: If you could only keep one player on the roster, would you keep Gerard Warren or Marcus Stroud?
My thoughts after the jump!
I hope the Patriots sign both Stroud and Warren and that the best player will keep the roster spot for the next season. While I would want Warren because he has a year in the Patriots' system, it's clear that Stroud is still the better player. The 4-3 DT and the 3-4 DE roles are similar enough so that a comparison of stats wouldn't be ridiculous- and even in the comparison, the 4-3 DT spot is more about contain than the 3-4 DE spot. Keeping that in mind, the fact that Stroud put up better stats from a more reserved position means that he has just as much gas in the tank as Warren.
Boiling down the two players, and seeing how the Patriots have a need at a penetrating RDE, I believe that Stroud is the better option. I believe that the Patriots will draft one of the elite 3-4 DEs in the draft and they will split time with Stroud as a rookie, just like how Vince Wilfork split time with Keith Traylor when he was a rookie. By the end of the season, the rookie should be ready and adjusted to take on a full time role, but Stroud is strong enough and enough of a mentor to fill the transition role for a season.
I just feel like Stroud is better suited for the transition role than Warren, both in terms of on-the-field production and locker room mentorship. What do you think?