5 Free Agents The New England Patriots Should Target This Offseason
5 Free Agents To Target This Offseason
The New England Patriots are one of the final four teams left standing in the NFL after a big win against the Indianapolis Colts, but it is never too early to talk about what Bill Belichick is thinking about for the offseason.
The Patriots don't tend to go for many flashy free agents. The team does not like to overspend for players; they like to take chances with the money they spend. They will look to take a chance on a Corey Dillon or a Randy Moss, or they will give a shot to Danny Amendola at the expense of Wes Welker. They don't want a situation like they had with Adalius Thomas to happen again.
Not every chance they take works out. The failed experiments with players like Chad Ochocinco are highly publicized, but they have such low risks that they don't tend to hurt the team.
The Patriots are obviously in pretty good shape, going all the way to the AFC Championship game with a depleted roster. Their injured reserve list could play their own game; the players include Brandon Spikes, Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Josh Boyce (third round pick receiver), Rob Gronkowski, Sebastian Volmer and Adrian Wilson. There is a lot of talent and experience on that injured list, and that isn't even mentioning that one of their best young talents is now behind bars on a murder charge. With that, the team still went 12-4 and is now one game away from the Super Bowl.
Teams can always be better and the Pats look to do just that. They have a few significant free agents coming off the books, but nothing too significant. Even with $28 million on injured reserve and $16 million in dead money, the Pats still were $5 million under the salary cap. Expect them to spend that money this offseason.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also writes for the site's NFL, NBA and MLB content. You can follow him on Twitter here.
5. Garrett Graham
The Pats have really missed Aaron Hernandez in this offense. When he became incarcerated, the offense was in shambles. When Gronkowski went down for the season, it was even worse. There are a few tight ends you could go after this offseason, but many of them come with an injury risk. With a questionable Gronk, you need someone who is more reliable. Garrett Graham had a break out season in 2013 with the Houston Texans, and he will be a great addition to a new two tight end offense.
4. Aqib Talib
Even with players like Spikes and Julian Edelman about to become free agents, Aqib Talib is by far the most important Pats player whose contract is expiring this season. He has changed the culture of the defense and was the main reason this defense could bend but not break all season. He takes out the other team's top receiver at all times. He showed he could play great against the likes of Julio Jones and AJ Green. Give him all the money he needs.
3. Devin Hester
With Edelman and LeGarrette Blount possibly leaving through free agency, the Pats could see their two return men lost in one offseason. If they brought in Devin Hester, that would take care of both in one fell swoop. He is the best return man in the history of the game, is only 31 years old, and has not taken that many hits throughout the seasons he has played. He won't be great forever, but the Pats should take advantage of the skill he still has.
2. Bernard Pollard
If Bernard Pollard is on the Patriots he can't hurt anymore Patriots, right? Honestly though, if the Pats decide to part ways with either Wilson or Steve Gregory, they need a presence in the back end. They haven't had a big playmaker at safety since they had Rodney Harrison (don't say Brandon Meriwhether). They need a guy who plays harder-nosed football and will take away the deep passes. Also, he can't hurt us while he plays for us.
1. Jared Allen
This is the big play guy that Belichick will put all his cards in to sign. He is the perfect player for his system. Jared Allen is a pure rush defensive end that still has elite talent despite being over 30. He still has half a decade of dominance left, and Pats fans would love it if he dominated in red, white and blue. Since Richard Seymour was traded, this guy was the one that everyone wanted to be his replacement; maybe he finally can be. Imagine a line with him and Chandler Jones for the next five years.