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Predicting The New England Patriots’ 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves

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Predicting The New England Patriots’ 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves

New England Patriots 2014 NFL Free Agency
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The New England Patriots have been the most stable NFL franchise for over a decade now. A perennial contender, they typically don’t make splashy free agent moves. This year, however, that could be different. This offseason they have the cap space and the urgency they didn’t have before to go out and sign a big-name free agent.

Typically the Patriots are bit players in free agency. They usually don’t go out and give big deals to free agents, and when they have it hasn’t gone particularly well. The Patriots most often go after veterans they can get for a value price but may or may not have anything left to give the team on the field.

In previous years there have been players that the fans wanted the Patriots to go after, but they always shied away from investing big dollars in a player coming over from another team. That was because they rarely had big holes to fill, and they were always building towards the long-term future rather than the going for broke for short-term gains.

This offseason that could be different. The window for the Patriots is closing quickly. Who knows how many elite years Tom Brady has left in him. New England knows they need to put a winner together while they can, because once the window closes all the value in the world won’t matter anymore.

The Patriots need to win now, and they have the available cap cash to make a few big moves in free agency this year.

Ben Sullivan is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @bensullivan52, "Like" him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Greg Hardy

Greg Hardy New England Patriots
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Greg Hardy is going to be one of the most sought after free agents this offseason. An impressive edge pass rusher with 33 sacks in his four years in the league, he will likely get a big deal from somebody. This is the kind of guy the Pats usually don't go near, but pairing Hardy with Chandler Jones could give them one of the best pass rushing combos in the league.

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4. Re-Sign Julian Edelman

Julian Edelman New England Patriots
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Julian Edelman had a crazy statistical year, but the Patriots know he isn't worth top-tier NFL wide receiver money. The thing is, other teams must know that as well. They've seen Patriots receivers be productive in New England before only to flounder when they get their big deal on a new team. Just like last year, the Pats could let him test the market then re-sign him to a team-friendly deal when no other team overpays him.

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3. Hakeem Nicks

Hakeem Nicks New England Patriots
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The Patriots' biggest need this offseason is to get a big receiver on the outside to open up the field for Brady and his contingent of slot receivers. Hakeem Nicks has been injured all too often but has been productive when he can stay on the field. His injury history should mean he comes at a reasonable price, making the investment worth the risk.

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2. Randy Starks

Randy Starks New England Patriots
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I'm big on Randy Starks as a semi-sleeper this offseason in free agency. A solid, all-around interior defensive lineman who plays with a good motor, he could help the Pats fix what was a gaping hole up the middle of the defense last year.

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1. Re-Sign Aqib Talib

Aqib Talib New England Patriots
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This is the big one for New England this offseason. Cover corner Aqib Talib changes the way they play defense when he is on the field. They don't want to commit too much money for a guy who can't seem to stay healthy when they need him the most, but they need to bring him back.