The New England Patriots have been relatively quiet so far this week. They did sign two free agents and also traded safety Duron Harmon to the Detroit Lions, but mostly made headlines when another one of their free agents — in particular quarterback Tom Brady — decided to leave the organization. With the first wave of free agency slowly coming to an end, however, the Patriots will likely do what they have done for years: bargain shopping.
Value is the name of the game for New England’s head coach/general manager Bill Belichick, and the team will likely start bringing in veteran players on moderate deals to boost the middle class of a roster that needs to get younger and is currently rather expensive. One potential target to address at least the middle class depth perspective might be former Denver Broncos defensive lineman Derek Wolfe.
According to a report by the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels, the Patriots “are showing interest and have had discussions” with the 30-year-old.
Wolfe would bring considerable experience to a New England front-seven that already lost defensive tackle Danny Shelton as well as linebackers Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins Sr. and Elandon Roberts over the last few days. While the Patriots also signed defensive tackle Beau Allen to possibly fill Shelton’s former role as a big-bodied interior lineman, adding more depth up front is paramount for a unit that ranked first in the league in scoring last year.
The long-time Bronco would add just that. Not only would he bring considerable experience to the table from his eight years in Denver, he also has proven himself a steady penetrator that was used in a multiple roles over the years — Wolfe lined up everywhere from the nose to the five-technique spot. Before ending his 2019 season on injured reserve due to a elbow injury, he registered 22 quarterback pressures (7.0 sacks, 6 hits, 9 hurries).
While the finances will of course be a deciding factor, Wolfe seems like an attractive option for New England that could get after the quarterback and also has been a stout run defender throughout his career in the NFL.