There's been a lot of Patriots news today, starting with the departure of All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis. Let's recap the entire day.
The Patriots opted to not pick up Revis' option, as expected. Revis received a Godfather offer from the Jets. End of story. New England is set up to receive the top compensatory pick in 2016, as well as a pick swap for the Jets tampering. According to the Herald's Jeff Howe, it's rumored the Patriots tapped out yesterday and the Jets were just bidding against themselves. Thanks for 2014, Revis.
The Patriots opted to not pick up Browner's option, rendering him a free agent. A lot of Browner's value is derived from playing across from Darrelle Revis, so it's uncertain if New England will bring him back. He apparently can command $7 million on the open market, which might mean the Browner era is over. Should Browner sign elsewhere, it will add to the Patriots compensatory pick calculus.
Vereen signed with the Giants on a 4-year, $16 million deal, which was way out of the Patriots price range. It matches Saints running back Mark Ingram, who is a more well rounded player. These two players will forever be linked as the Saints traded up with the Patriots to select Ingram in the first round in exchange for a second rounder and a future first. The Patriots picked Vereen in the second.
James Develin and Exclusive Restricted Free Agents
The Patriots are bringing back fullback James Develin, as well as defensive tackle Sealver Siliga and linebacker James Morris. New England is letting receivers Brian Tyms and Greg Orton test the open market, but there is still a chance for Tyms' return. Morris was injured last season, the Patriots are going to focus on addressing linebacker depth this off-season.
With Vereen off to the Giants and Roy Helu signing with the Raiders, Bush takes the inside lane as the Patriots top option at running back. Bush is also considering a return to the Saints or joining the 49ers. The Saints are in cap trouble and just signed Ingram, so the fit is uncertain. The 49ers would make sense, but they've also imploded this off-season and if Bush wants to join a winner, the Patriots are his top option.
According to RapSheet, the Patriots are also interested in Spiller. It looks like New England wants to get more speed out of the backfield. Both Spiller and Bush are better runners than Vereen.
The Patriots have the Browns edge defender in the building for a visit. He would bolster the Patriots pass rush, supplement the current defensive line, and help compensate for the current state of the secondary. He's a stout run defender and would remind Patriots fans of a larger Rob Ninkovich, without the coverage ability. Sheard also won the Browns' team award for player most involved in the local community.
The Patriots have been connected to depth wide receivers and they signed former Dolphins receiver Brandon Gibson to a one-year deal. Gibson spent 2011 with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in St. Louis. It is unknown if this is just a depth signing, or if the team has something in mind.
Brian Hartline said his decision was "close" between #Browns and #Patriots.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 10, 2015
Brian Hartline stared at the two goblets. Confident, he grabbed the brown one and drank deeply. pic.twitter.com/OVvRqufuZC— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) March 10, 2015
No other comments needed.
The Patriots traded down from the bottom of the 5th round to the top of the 6th round with the Buccaneers to acquire linebacker Casillas. Casillas just signed a three-year, $10.5 million deal with the Giants, which is worth roughly a 5th round compensatory pick. So that's just profit for the Patriots. The Patriots were one of at least four teams interested in signing him.
As a potential Casillas replacement, the Patriots have brought in linebacker Colin McCarthy for a workout (per ESPN's Field Yates). He spent the past season on the injured reserve, but Bill Belichick has had an interest in McCarthy. He would provide quality depth on the roster.
Non-Revis news: LB Chris White, a core special teamer with Patriots in 2013 & 2014, agreed to terms to return to New England, per source.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) March 11, 2015
The Jets have released Percy Harvin and it's widely thought that the Patriots have the best chance of picking him up. Not sure how the Gibson pick-up affects this front.
WRs on trade block- Travis Benjamin, Chris Givens, DeVier Posey, Aaron Dobson, Marquise Goodwin. Ace Sanders & Justin Blackmon potentially.— NFL_DRAFT_Bites (@NFLDraftBites) March 10, 2015
Take it with a grain of salt, but be aware of the rumor.