Sunday, March 02, 2008

Free Agency Brings Changes

The Patriots have embarked on yet another off-season with cash in hand under the cap and a plethora of free agents on the marketplace. Unlike the dizzying late winter and spring of 2007, the 2008 Patriots have seemingly gone back to standing around and watching stars and solid contributors leave left and right. So far the Patriots off-season has consisted of:

* Top cornerback Asante Samuel leaving to become one of the highest paid corners in the game and now wearing number 22 in Philly;
* Number two cornerback Randall Gay is going back to Louisiana to sign with the Saints;
Safety Eugene Wilson walking out the door without an offer;
* Starting Outside Linebacker Rosie Colvin unceremoniously shown the door
* All-Pro and record-setting wide receiver Randy Moss seemingly getting further from re-signing everyday;
* Number two receiver Donte Stallworth leaving for the greener pastures of Cleveland;
* Some minor re-signings such as Long Snapper Lonie Paxton, Special Teamer Larry Izzo, Special Teamer Kelley Washington, and 13 year veteran Tedy Bruschi deciding to return;
* Also, Jabar Gaffney may or may not be set to return, although at this time he would be the most experienced outside receiver on the team;
* Finally, there was thought that Zach Thomas may be joining the Pats after the Dolphins released him, but instead he ended up in Dallas.

Analysis:
* Like last off-season the Patriots again have a huge hole at wide receiver with Wes Welker the only starter under contract. If Moss and Gaffney sign, the holes go away, but I still have to wonder when the real Chad Jackson makes an appearance for the Patriots;
* Outside linebacker depth is limited with Colvin gone, and the Patriots STILL have no answer on the inside as Junior Seau goes under the knife and likely off to retirement and surfing;
* Cornerback is a HUGE concern now. What was a position with no depth is now a position with simply no one. Maybe Otis Smith can suit back up and Ty Law and Tyrone Poole will come back.
* The number seven draft pick stares us in the face and tempts us with skill players on defense and offense. I am sure the Patriots will consider many trades (Dallas with two picks in the 20s seems like a likely dance partner), although I ALWAYS hesitate to trade down when I think of the Patriots trading down for DE Ray Agnew and LB Chris Singleton while San Diego grabs LB Junior Seau in that spot. Or the Patriots moving down and grabbing C Trevor Matich while San Francisco grabs WR Jerry Rice in that position the Patriots just gave up.

In Bill We Trust, right? Well, I admit I am starting to sweat, and I want to start seeing some results and players on the roster.

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