2013 Patriots Offseason: 5 Potential FA Fits
If you got the opportunity to ask head coach Bill Belichick about potential offseason transactions, his response would be something to the tune of, “There is no offseason”. Voluntary training camp is five weeks away (April 15th) and franchise QB Tom Brady recently freed up some cap space for the Patriots to make a splash in Free Agency. Will New England bring in a high-profile FA? Probably not, but it’s fun to pontificate around the idea.
After losing to Baltimore in a rematch of the AFC Championship this past year, several glaring weaknesses were apparent agains the Ravens. Both Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, 6′ 1″ and 6′ 2″ respectively, made the Patriots cornerbacks look like Rahim Moore. Who is Rahim Moore you may ask? The Bronco safety who let Jacoby Jones fly by him to bring the divisional matchup into overtime. Yes, I am exaggerating. No, the Patriots cornerback situation isn’t pretty. Resigning or franchising Aqib Talib is up in the air, especially given his injury history.
Where else can the Patriots find a potential fit? Check out these five free agents (in no particular order) below:
1) S – David Bruton: Josh McDaniels drafted this Notre Dame alumni in 2009 as a 4th round pick. Contributing mostly as a standout special teamer last year, he has played out his rookie contract and is looking to get in the mix. With Devin McCourty, Steve Gregory, Tavon Wilson and Nate Ebner all coming back, Bruton could fit in nicely during sub packages and even on ST. Belichick seems to let McDaniel’s reel in his old friends per last year; however, it can’t come back to bite us like Salas did. New England’s focus on signing/drafting a safety is contingent on the Talib situation. McCourty may not play centerfield all year but you have to have faith that he can turn it around. Regardless, the Patriots need help in the secondary. Is Bruton our guy? Probably not but McDaniels and Belichick do get too comfortable at times…
2) WR – David Nelson: Nothing like stealing another weapon from an AFC East rival… Back in 2010, Belichick gave the 6′ 5″ David Nelson a call after he went undrafted, making him a rookie free agent. Throw him in the mix with Hernandez/Gronk and there is no doubt defenses will struggle against the Patriots in the Red Zone, an area where New England squandered way too many opportunities when it mattered last year. After tearing his ACL in September, this sure-handed receiver may not get as many looks as he should during Free Agency. Buy low!
3) WR – Danny Amendola: Rumors have been swirling for a few weeks now about a final destination come summer time. Analysts have pinned Amendola as a likely replacement for Welker but I don’t think nagging both is out of the question. He does not have the durability or Pro Bowl caliber of Wes but they both thrive in the slot. Amendola has posted some ridiculous lines of double digit receptions in his past few years, a feat Welker achieves in his sleep. Let’s just hope we bring back Welker for the rest of his career.
4) S – Dashon Goldson: During the 2011 offseason the Patriots unsuccessfully tried to sway the physical, 6′ 2″ safety to leave the Bay Area for New England. Wait, who is Dashon Goldson? He’s the starting safety that has only missed two games over the past four seasons for the San Francisco 49ers. Since 2009, he’s also grabbed 14 INT – an impressive feat for a safety. Goldson can provide that intimidating force we have been missing since Rodney stopped using PEDs. While he may be pricey coming off a Superbowl run and incremental exposure, I believe he may be worth the guap.
5) CB – Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: With good height at 6′ 2″ and 16 career interceptions over 5 seasons, DRC fills a void that bust pick Ras-I Dowling could not. Not only does he add height, but he adds consistent health. Rodgers-Cromartie has missed just three games out of the past eighty over the past five seasons! Although he comes in at a measly 182 lbs for his height, DRC makes up for it with his blazing 4.33 40 yard dash time. Furthermore, DRC finished with 17 pass deflections – good for 7th in the NFL.