Looking at the free agent profile of upcoming Patriots free agent long snapper Danny Aiken.
Name: Danny Aiken
Position: Long snapper
Status: Unrestricted free agent
2014 Season: Aiken flirted with disaster a few times in 2014, especially early on in September and October, but was solid down the stretch and into the playoffs. This came after a tough finish to his 2013 campaign, where he sent a snap over the head of Ryan Allen that gave the Colts a safety in the divisional playoffs. Aiken was actually released by the Patriots prior to the regular season, but was re-signed prior to week one. He outplayed challengers Tyler Ott and Charley Hughlett for the long snapper job. He also missed one game due to concussion (replaced by Rob Ninkovich).
Why the Patriots should sign him: Aiken has been the team’s long snapper for four seasons now, so it’s obvious the team likes him. At 6’4" and 255lbs, he can contribute in coverage on punts as well. There likely won’t be any competition to sign him, so the Patriots can bring him back with little or no guaranteed money handed out. He might not win the job again, but why not let him compete?
Why the Patriots should let him walk: As far as long snappers go, Aiken has not been the most consistent the last two seasons. Of all positions, his is the one where consistency is valued above all else. The team may simply want to move on.
Prediction: Aiken is experienced and familiar, so there’s no downside to bringing him back for another year at a low-cost. The Patriots would still likely bring in some competition, so it will be up to Aiken to win the job yet again.