The Patriots brought in 7 players to Foxborough yesterday. Those players are WR Chris Hogan, RB James Starks, DL Frank Kearse, TE Clay Harbor, RB Benny Cunningham, WR Rod Streater, and CB Sherrick McManis. McManis has since re-upped with the Chicago Bears, so the field drops to 6. I believe that Hogan, Starks, Harbor, Cunningham, and Streater will get offers from the Patriots.
WR Chris Hogan: It's pretty clear the Patriots really like Chris Hogan and with the Bills tight in cap space (<$5M), it should be easy for the Patriots to submit an offer sheet the Bills can't afford to match. Hogan has the nickname 7-11 from his rookie year camp with the Miami Dolphins and was an absolute pain for the Patriots to cover. Hogan is a solid athlete that is still developing as a WR and can be a major contributor on Special Teams. I would assume he inherits the Brandon LaFell role in the offense if the Bills don't match the offer sheet. Did I also mention he was a LaCrosse player at Penn State?
RB James Starks: Starks comes out of a split-carry situation in Green Bay where he was the #2 behind Eddie Lacy. The Patriots typically like a RBBC approach and Starks is more of a change-of-pace back behind a big bruiser. Patriots can either go Blount or a draft pick at that position. In order to sign Starks the Patriots probably have to give him the lead back role while said rookie develops. Patriots main competition to sign him is likely the Packers.
DT Frank Kearse: Kearse is a rotational type lineman that has experience playing the 5-technique end in Washington's 3-4 defense. In the Patriots system he would be a 1 or 3-technique tackle and likely 4th in the rotation behind Malcom Brown, Alan Branch, and Dominique Easley. Kearse wouldn't be guaranteed a roster spot going into camp and will likely have to compete with late-round flyer prospects and other players like him for a job.
TE Clay Harbor: The Patriots are in need of a #2 TE and Clay Harbor is an interesting choice. He's had some success in both Philadelphia and Jacksonville and profiles as a move TE. His biggest assets are his ability as a pass catcher and to line up all over the formation to create matchup problems against safeties and linebackers. Bill Belichick talked up Harbor prior to the Week 3 game against Jacksonville, so will the interest materialize into a contract offer?
RB Benny Cunningham: Cunningham is a Brandon Bolden/Jack of all trades type RB with proven return skills. With the Rams likely making Todd Gurley a 3-down back in their offense, there isn't many snaps for Cunningham to play on offense. I don't see the Patriots making an offer that the Rams can match since the Patriots don't break the bank for ST players unless they are perennial Pro Bowlers like Matthew Slater. Patriots will be fine either way.
WR Rod Streater: Streater is an interesting player, who had previous success in Oakland as an outside speed threat. After two very good seasons to start his career, injuries and a puzzling benching have limited him to just four games in the last two years. This could be a good shot for the Patriots to import a buy-low candidate, make him compete for a roster spot and see what happens next. Streater would be competing with Aaron Dobson and Chris Hogan for the starting X WR job.