Even though nothing is set in stone yet, there is a chance that the New England Patriots might lose one of their core defenders in free agency: Linebacker and defensive captain Dont’a Hightower is set to hit the open market next week. Naturally, the team needs to be aware of a future without the Pro Bowler.
And while the rest of the team’s linebacker corps is still under contract, the Patriots need to cover all their bases — exploring possible additions through draft and free agency does just that. One of the players New England is interested in, according to Jeff Howe, has just been on the losing end of the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory:
Patriots, Lions, Eagles and Colts have expressed interest in Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow, per source.
Worrilow has been with the Falcons since 2013, when the team signed him as an undrafted rookie free agent. While he served as a starter on Atlanta’s defense his first three seasons in the NFL, 2016 was a statistical down-year for the 26-year old. While he averaged 125 tackles over each of his first three season, Worrilow registered only 20 last year and was relegated to a backup role.
Consequently, the Falcons will let him test the market — and it appears as if Worrilow will have suitors. But despite the Patriots having the most salary cap space of the four teams Howe mentioned above, the team will likely not get into a bidding war for the linebacker’s services, if it comes to one.
Still, the reported interest shows that the Patriots are willing to go to the free agency well to find additional depth at the linebacker position.