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Patriots Free Agents 2012: Gary Guyton

Guyton's last big play as a Patriot: an interception against the Steelers
Guyton's last big play as a Patriot: an interception against the Steelers

Over the next two weeks, we'll be looking at each Patriots free agent and projecting whether or not they will re-sign with the Patriots this offseason;

Gary Guyton

Age: 26

Position: Linebacker

Status: Unrestricted Free Agent

2011 Stats: 13 games played; 6 starts; 47 tackles; one interception

Overview: After four years in New England after going undrafted out of Georgia Tech in 2008, it appears that Gary Guyton's New England Patriots career could be coming to an end. Guyton initially started as a sub-package linebacker for the Patriots due to his athletic ability. In 2009, he became a full-time player at the position, picking up 85 tackles and 1.5 sacks. In 2010, Guyton played behind rookie Brandon Spikes at times, but also started 8 games and was once again critical in sub-packages - he came up with 63 tackles, 3 sacks, two interceptions, and two defensive touchdowns. While he began 2011 in a substantial role, he was eventually replaced by Dane Fletcher, and even undrafted rookie Jeff Tarpinian and career special teamer Tracy White on the depth chart. Guyton finished the season with 47 tackles and an interception, but was inactive for the entire postseason and recorded his last defensive statistic week 13 against the Colts. Guyton's sharp decline in play probably is an indicator of his future with the Patriots: non-existent. Don't get me wrong - Guyton had several good years in a Patriots uniform. At this point, however, both sides probably feel that it's best to move on. Still, there's no doubt in my mind that Guyton is still a player in this league.

Prediction: Signs elsewhere via free agency