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2016 NFL Free Agency: Are the Patriots Hosting Safety Eric Weddle?

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Eric Weddle has expressed a desire to play in New England; the feeling may be mutual.

Edit: Weddle has signed with the Baltimore Ravens to a 4-year, $29 million contract.

The New England Patriots is reported to be hosting Free Agent Safety Eric Weddle today, per several sources.

Weddle, 31, is one of the top free agents currently left on the market, and has apparently drawn interest from four NFL teams. New England must be one of them if they plan to have him in for a visit at some point this afternoon; Weddle plans to make a decision within the next 24 hours.

The combination of Weddle and Devin McCourty would give the Patriots one of the best safety tandems in the NFL; combined with some young stud corners, and this Patriots secondary could be formidable. The last time the Patriots signed a safety who had spent the bulk of his career in San Diego and was looking to go to a contender for the last few years of his career, it worked out pretty well, and Weddle can likely be had for a manageable cap number. It's likely just a matter of what he is being offered elsewhere and where he wants to play. He has already expressed a desire to play for the Patriots, and Bill Belichick loves him some safeties, so it would be a good match.

More updates as they come in.

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Rich's angle

Let's break down what we know about Weddle and his current offseason pursuits.

Weddle has expressed a desire to play for the Patriots, as well as for the Steelers, Panthers, and Raiders. The Raiders (per the San Diego Union-Tribune's Kevin Acee) and the Steelers (per CBS's Jason La Canfora) are both still interested. San Diego Union-Tribune writer Tom Krasovic notes that the Chargers really don't want Weddle to join the divisional rival Raiders.

Charlotte Observer's Panthers beat writer Joseph Person doesn't believe that Weddle would make sense in Carolina, although he notes that Weddle and Panthers head coach Ron Rivera spent time together in San Diego.

La Canfora notes that the Cowboys and Ravens are two other teams interested in Weddle.

The Steelers, Ravens, Raiders, and Cowboys seemed to be the four teams that would align with NFL Network's Ian Rapoport report that four teams had offered Weddle a contract. Rapoport notes that Weddle is expected to pick his top two choices on Monday, and then move forward with negotiations.

In what seems to be a surprise to most, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named the Patriots as Weddle's ideal landing spot, which means these reports of Weddle's visit have become far more interesting.

If Weddle is expected to make a decision on his final two teams on Monday, then a same-day visit with the Patriots could be a wrench in the whole process. Could this imply that the Patriots are one of his final two teams? Or are the Patriots a latecomer to the party, just managing to throw their hat into the ring?

The New England Patriots haven't spent any money in free agency and Weddle could join under a team-friendly deal.

Weddle makes some sense as Duron Harmon will be a free agent after the 2016 season. Weddle could remain under contract as Harmon tests free agency and likely departs, and then could continue to serve as the team's third safety until the Patriots use another 2nd round draft pick in a future draft on a safety just for the heck of it.