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New England Patriots Links 6/30/11 - New CBA: Are We There Yet?

Ian Rapoport notes Ty Law offers his thoughts on Patriots young CB Devin McCourty.

"I think he’s going to be one of the better cornerbacks to ever suit up for the Patriots," Law said. "He’s young, and for what he’s done this year, if he can just build upon that and do the little things and get better and better, he’s probably going to be one of the top two or three corners in the game. There are only so many Darrelle Revis’s out there. If he works hard, he’ll get close. That’s how much respect I have for that guy. He probably can do as much as anything I’ve ever done."

Ian Rapoport tells us if free agency started for the Patriots today, don't expect any high-profile additions at inside linebacker.

Possible free agent targets? Mathias Kiwanuka, Matt Roth.

Reason: The Patriots are set there with Mayo and Spikes for years. At outside, both Roth (6-foot-4, 275 pounds) and Kiwanuka (6-5, 265) have prototype size for the Patriots 3-4. Kiwanuka’s 2010 was cut short with a neck injury, and he had just 11 tackles and four sacks. He’s been medically cleared, but his health is still a question mark. When healthy, the Boston College product is seriously talented. As for Roth, he played for coach Eric Mangini’s Browns last year, and he doesn’t expect to be back. His history in a similar system, along with his toughness, makes him attractive.

Looking into the crystal ball: With no high-profile draft pick at outside linebacker, the Patriots are likely expecting big things from Cunningham. But they still could be primed to sign one free agent. Kiwanuka would be a bit of a project, as he’d have to learn to do more than rush. Without a mini-camp, that’s difficult. Figure Roth, a perfect 3-4 player who has a mean streak, is the best option. He had 86 tackles and four sacks last season, and would be able to hit the ground running the fastest. The lack of mini-camp means a free agent must be ready to play immediately. Roth would be.

Karen Guregian says if free agency started for the Patriots today, they probably wouldn't pick up any cornerbacks or safeties.

Possible free agency targets? Brandon McGowan, Jarrad Page

Reason: Familiarity, for one. McGowan provided a physical and intimidating presence in the Pats secondary two years ago before injury shelved him last season. The safety was also good in coverage with tight ends. Page was offered a second-round tender as a restricted free agent. He’ll likely be an unrestricted free agent under the new rules. He made a good impression while he was here this past season, but as an intelligent veteran safety with size, he could draw several suitors and be on the difficult side to sign.

Looking into the crystal ball: Thanks to the draft, not much to do here at corner. Safety is also in good shape, although Meriweather has a year to go on his contract. If the Pats don’t want to pay the two-time Pro Bowler big money, it could get interesting. With a logjam at safety and Sanders also in his final year, could the Pats choose? Meriweather would bring the most in a trade, though that’s become less likely thanks to the elimination of mini-camps. They’ll be looking for reinforcements at safety, but that won’t likely come until next year. If the rules change with Page, and he’s unrestricted, they’ll likely extend an offer to bring him back. The Patriots appeared to appreciate Page’s contribution.