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Raiders Release Stanford Routt, Will the Patriots be Interested?

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Well, we have the first "surprise" release of the 2012 NFL offseason.

Earlier this afternoon, the Oakland Raiders announced the release of veteran cornerback Stanford Routt. Yes, the same Stanford Routt that the Raiders had signed to a five year contract worth more than $50 million just months ago. The Raiders have a new G.M. in Reggie McKenzie, and likely decided that Routt's contract was too rich.

The Patriots could be heavily involved in the market for defensive backs this offseason. There are a ton of good cornerbacks who should be available via free agency, but it looks like Routt will be the first to hit the market (he will officially be a free agent tomorrow). The question obviously becomes, should the Patriots consider pursuing Routt?

I think Routt could be an interesting name to watch, but it obviously all depends on his asking price. If he is heavily pursued as expected, the Patriots will probably sit back and wait for the second round of top cornerbacks in March. Routt plays the left cornerback position - and the Patriots already have a pretty good left cornerback in Devin McCourty. Of course, the Patriots could move McCourty to safety permanently or play Routt mostly in the slot (he played a lot of slot cornerback in 2010 and 2009).

In 16 games this season, Routt was targeted 94 times, and allowed 48 completions. While he intercepted four passes, he also allowed nine touchdowns. Routt turns 29 in July and certainly has plenty left in the tank. Again, I doubt the Patriots sign him, but he could be an intriguing option.

What do you think?