In typical Patriots fashion, the Pats held off of the early Free Agent feeding frenzy and waited patiently to make their moves; only grabbing "their guy" when necessary to keep him from getting gobbled by the bigger fishes. By day four, they were well in the swing of things. As we move into the second week of free agency, the Patriots have addressed needs or depth in all three phases of the game.
Here is a recap of the action to date:
Day one passed with the Pats only losing a couple free agents: Donald Thomas, who was starter quality backup for us, and Patrick Chung, who we likely wouldn't have signed anyway.
Day two saw Wes Welker go to the Broncos (plenty of blame to go around, but in the end, it was a business decision). Instead, they picked up Danny Amendola, who is younger, and has more speed, but has missed more games in his short career than Wes Welker has. This likely represents a shift away from the slot position, and hopefully we end up picking up some outside receivers to complement the move.
Day Three the Patriots made a deal with returner / running back Leon Washington.
Day Four held a flurry of activity. Danny Woodhead left for San Diego, while the Pats re-signed Kyle Arrington. Donald Jones was signed from the division rival Bills. A report surfaced that John Abraham was signed, but that has not been confirmed to date. Finally, the Pats made a move to replace Rodney Harrison who left in 2009, by signing Adrian Wilson. Reports also surfaced that the Patriots and Brandon Lloyd were restructuring his deal to keep him with McDaniels.
Day Five the Patriots gave Aqib Talib a new one year deal. Unable to come to deal before the deadline, the Patriots released Brandon Lloyd. The move frees up cap space, and the Patriots may yet re-sign him.
Day Six the Pats signed Will Svitek as offensive line depth. They've lost backup Donald Thomas already, and the status of Sebastian Vollme is uncertain.
Days Seven and Eight saw Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick at the owner's meeting. With the brain trust out of Foxboro, there was a dearth of free agent signings. We did find out RK's thoughts and feelings about the Welker situation, though.
Day Nine the Patriots announced the signing of Niko Koutouvides and Marquice Cole. A couple of guy that are primarily special teamers.
Day Ten saw rumors of the Patriots tied to the big three pass rushers: Abraham, Freeney, and Dumervil.
Day Eleven saw rumors of the big four rushers: going anywhere BUT the Patriots. Hence the season of misdirection.
The top "keeper" for the Pats is Sebastian Vollmer; the lack of activity across the league to date probably indicates concerns about his health. With Long's deal done, the market price for tackles is now set, and we may see some activity soon. Julian Edelman is still on the block as well. Amendola has injury concerns, yet there were teams competing for his services. Edelman? No word so far. He'll likely be cheap to keep if we want him.
Here is a summary of the Patriots related action to date:
Day One: Bottom tier players gone
G Donald Thomas - gone to the Colts. This is unfortunate because he has been starting quality depth for us.
S Patrick Chung - gone to the Eagles to hang with his college coach. He's been fragile and a liability here.
Day Two: Changing of the slots
WR Wes Welker - gone to the Broncos. There's an awful lot of production to make up there. This one may sting for awhile.
WR Danny Amendola - picked up from the Rams. Hopefully he'll develop the same psychic link that Branch and Welker shared with Brady.
Day Three: Return on our Investment?
KR Leon Washington - picked up from the Jets (former Seahawk). Primarily a kick returner, but we'll see if they try to do more with him.
Day Four: Many moves (and at least one non-move) by the Pats
WR Donald Jones - picked up from Bills. Measurables: 6'0" 208lbs, 4.46 40 time (low of 4.38), 41" vertical, 3-cone 6.90
CB Kyle Arrington - re-signed to a 4 year deal. Let's hope he never, ever leaves the slot.
RB Danny Woodhead - gone to the Chargers. AFC West now the division for scrappy overachievers. With the Washington move, and Vereen shaping up, he was expendable.
SS Adrian Wilson - picked up from the Cardinals. In the box safety / tweener LB. Can cover TE's and larger receivers. Very similar to the Rodney Harrison move and he was kind of good.
Day Five: Receiver Problems are Secondary
WR Brandon Lloyd was released to free up $3M in cap money.
CB Aqib Talib was re-signed to a one year deal. The defense looked better when he was on the field.
Day Six: How deep is O-line?
OT Will Svitek picked up from the Falcons. Nothing more than line depth and perhaps hedging their bets on Vollmer.
Day Seven: All Quiet on Our AFC Eastern Front
Day Eight: The Sounds of Silence
Day Nine: Special Signings
ST/LB Niko Koutouvides was re-signed on a one year deal. He is primarily a ST contributor.
ST/DB Marquice Cole is primarily a special teamer, but saw significant time last year at DB with injuries to the secondary.
Days Ten and Eleven: Misdirection and Misinformation - You know, Free Agency
Day Twelve: ????????????????
We'll update this live as we get more information. The Patriots are rumored to be interested in a number of free agents. Tune in here for the latest details.