So Friday started with no big midnight bombshell on the free agent front. Sure there were plenty of rumors, but nothing big had come down the pike. Like I indicated on Friday, most of the rumors were out of Chicago and sure enough, by the afternoon the rumors were reality.
The Patriots were rumored to be in the Julius Peppers sweepstakes right up until he signed on the dotted line with the Bears. Thing is, from what I’ve read, they had an offer out there similar to putting in an offer on a house you know won’t be accepted. It was for decent money but short on the years that the Peppers camp clearly wanted.
Strike one Patriots.
Then the rumors starting flying late in the afternoon that the Patriots were in the bidding for a trade with Arizona for Anquan Boldin. Makes sense, Moss heading into the last year of his deal Boldin could step in and be the #1 for the foreseeable future after Moss departs following this coming season. Well Arizona traded with Baltimore and rumors were the Patriots weren’t going to pay Boldin and make him play out his current deal.
This outraged me so much that I actually called into 98.5 The Sports Hub and had an airing of the grievances. I compared the lack of Patriots front office balls to that of Pete “The Puss” Chiarelli and the Bruins. What are you holding the second round picks for another Bethel Johnson, Chad Jackson or Ron Brace? Get real.
But all was well in Foxboro after the Patriots announced the re-signing of Tully Banta-Cain the former 7th round pick that led the Pats in sacks this pass season. I joke. It’s not a big deal one way or the other we’ll call that one a foul tip.
The Patriots also announced the long term signing of Vince Wilfork. That would be a home run. They addressed a need that was sure to bite them in the ass if they hadn’t gotten a deal done. He’s now the highest paid nose tackle in the NFL. Hopefully he plays up to the level of the contract and doesn’t become complacent.
But where to the Pats go from here?
Big Jeff suggested the Pats go after Karlos Dansby an inside linebacker, but he was scooped up by the Dolphins. Jason Taylor may be a stop gap but he’s no spring chicken.
In a year where the free agent pool was pretty shallow anyways the Patriots clearly have needs and based on the way they’ve drafted the last few years (with the exception of Mayo and Vollmer) you can’t be too high on help coming from the draft. Oh and they may be losing their best corner from last year as Leigh Bodden has indicated that he’s going to sign in Houston because they “want him” (read:pay him).
So it’s only 3-4 days into the free agent process so people don’t need to jump off a bridge or anything. At the same time with some of the moves that the Dolphins and Jets have made you have to think that the division is clearly up for grabs this coming year.
I’m not writing off next season, but from an outsiders perspective the Pats clearly have a lot of work to do. Time for Bill to get cracking.