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Thursday's Patriots Free Agency Rumors, Updates, and News: Evan Mathis, Vince Wilfork, Danny Amendola, Reggie Bush, Devin McCourty

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Free agency is moving into its second stage and the Patriots are about to pounce.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

We're about to jump into the doldrums of the free agency period and I hope everyone is prepared. Nick Fairley is basically the last remaining top tier free agent yet to find a new franchise and the other players won't be ringing the alarm bells.

It's foolish, really. These players that slip through the cracks are the ones that end up the most valuable and they're the ones that become the building blocks of championship teams.

For every Darrelle Revis, there's a Nnamdi Asomugha and Albert Haynesworth and Adalius Thomas. The issue with paying top dollar for a prospect is that they rarely live up to the lofty expectations and financial investment. It's the $3 million per season Brandon LaFell that makes the Patriots offense whole, not the $12 million contract to Mike Wallace.

Yes, both receivers notched 900+ receiving yards, but one player exceeded their investment while the other fell far short.

The best teams maximize the number of players exceeding their investment- whether through free agency or the draft- while the team that continuously find themselves in cap hell are the ones investing in bloated assets.

The Patriots are about to make a bunch of mid-tier signings. This is where they win.

Evan Mathis

The Patriots need to invest in their offensive line because their interior line has been a weakness for the past couple of seasons. The Eagles have put everyone on notice and they're actively shopping the soon-to-be 34 year old guard Mathis.

The age is important, but only due to the compensation necessary to take Mathis. It's expected that the Eagles would only need a 3rd/4th round pick to take Mathis. His cap hit is extremely reasonable at $5.5 million this season. He's been the best guard in the league over the past five seasons.

This isn't the same as picking up an old body. It'd be like grabbing Brian Waters, but a version who doesn't want to move to Texas.

Vince Wilfork

We've reviewed that Wilfork has multiple solid offers on the table for $5 million per season. That's likely out of the Patriots price range. We'll see where New England comes in, though, and maybe if they're just below the mark Wilfork will want to stay.

Percy Harvin

It looks like Harvin is deciding between the Bills and the Patriots, based upon the scuttlebutt. Harvin wants to be viewed as a traditional receiver and no longer as a gadget player. He was used as a gadget player with the Jets last season.

That Jets coach is now in Buffalo. It doesn't make much sense.

Harvin is a dynamic player, but a major locker room issue. Harvin says money isn't an issue. There's no better place to rehabilitate image than in New England.

Reggie Bush

The Patriots aren't comfortable moving into 2015 with just James White as the receiving back. C.J. Spiller will be too expensive. Reggie Bush makes a lot of sense. The teams interested as the 49ers and the Saints. Both teams are self-destructing. The Patriots should have an advantage.

Jonathan Freeny

The Patriots have signed former Dolphins special teamer Freeny. You have one guess to determine which college he attended.

The 6'2, 250 pound Rutgers product while fight for a depth position on the roster. Linebacker depth will not be a problem in 2015.

Devin McCourty

As a side note, McCourty was one of the five players the Jaguars were willing to break the bank for. Jacksonville made it explicitly clear what their vision was going to be this off-season: they wanted their top players and, if not, they had a second tier of players they would invest in.

Their top five consisted of S McCourty, WR Randall Cobb, DL Jared Odrick, OT Jeremy Parnell, and TE Julius Thomas. They landed three of them. The other two, McCourty and Cobb, went back to their original teams on discounts.

The Jaguars had the highest bid on McCourty and it is believed to be the one Devin was going to take if the Patriots couldn't make it work.

Quick Hits

Brandon Browner has signed with the Saints for $5 million per season.

Danny Amendola has restructured his contract to free up some cap space for his return next season.

Akeem Ayers has signed with the Rams for a deal that could max out at $5 million per season if he meets incentives.