The New England Patriots have their own potential free agents to deal with before they can concentrate on other teams letting their players walk onto the open market.
The Super Bowl champs must figure a way to keep linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive back Logan Ryan and Running back LeGarrette Blount while filling the few gaps they have on their roster. Yes, even a team with Tom Brady at quarterback and Bill Belichick coaching has its flaws. This team didn’t win all its games, which means there is always room for improvement.
Will the New England Patriots throw caution to the wind and sign high-priced free agents, stacking the deck so Brady and Belichick bring home another Lombardi Trophy back to Boston? Will there be some massive overhaul where the formula used to lasso titles is blown up? That might not be the case. New England more than likely will find mid-level or street free agents, plug them into the system and spit out all-world performers.
For the sake of this article, however, here are five free agents the New England Patriots should kick the tires on and see if they are a solid fit for this franchise.
Calais Campbell, Defensive End – The team did not lose a beat when it traded Chandler Jones. Trey Flowers picked up the slack in the sack department. Campbell gives the team a tall, aggressive pass rusher and is a veteran looking for a ring to complete his career. If there is one thing lacking on this team is the idea of multiple pass rushers from the edge.
Campbell, who has played in Arizona since he was drafted, comes east to lend his veteran experience in the locker room and on the field.
Jared Cook, Tight End – The team has all but lost their tight end, Martellus Bennett. He made his plans known after the Super Bowl. The Patriots used two tight ends effectively all season and Bennett was able to become the main target of Tom Brady once Rob Gronkowski was lost for the season.
Cook proved to be a valuable target for Aaron Rodgers and was a huge help in the playoffs. Cook has nice size and may not command top-end money to move to another Super Bowl contender.
Luke Joeckel, Tackle – The Patriots are going to sign a free agent offensive lineman. Why not Joeckel, who never lived up to the hype in Jacksonville. The good thing about the former Texas A&M product is he can play both tackle positions and move inside to play left guard.
Joeckel is the type of reclamation project Belichick brings in and makes a star. Ever since the Jaguars announce they would not pick up his fifth-year option, I have had this move penciled in as a done deal.
Captain Munnerlyn, Cornerback – Munnerlyn would look good in New England, given that the secondary could look completely different in 2017. Ryan Logan may not be back and Malcolm Butler could test the market. I envision a secondary that may have a different feel to it in 2017, but it could be just as effective. Munnerlyn also helps the Patriots in the return game. Given that he has played quite a bit in the slot, he should be an attractive free agent for this club.
Victor Cruz, Wide Receiver – This makes so much sense, it probably will not happen. This is a team that does not put an emphasis on top-tier pass catchers, but this might be an exception to the rule. The New York Giants released Cruz after the season and immediately, he was linked to the Carolina Panthers. He could also find his way to Baltimore as a replacement for Steve Smith.
Danny Amendola might not be back. The combination of Cruz, Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan will be hard to defend.