Mike Rodak of ESPN Boston is reporting that Patriots worked out free agent outside linebacker Matt Roth. Roth most recently played for the Cleveland Browns under Eric Mangini but first played for the Miami Dolphins under Nick Saban. To say he’s the free agent who has the most experience in a Patriots-type defensive system would be an understatement. I first wrote about Roth’s fit in New England back on May 5 and then wrote a more in-depth free agent spotlight early in July. Matt Roth, while not a big free agent splash, would be a solid signing and boost the depth and pass rush capabilities of the defense.
But what about Roth’s fit in a Patriot 4-3 defense?
Matt Roth would project to play defensive end if the Patriots made the switch to the 4-3 as a base defense. His preference is to play OLB in a 3-4, which may prohibit his wanting to join the Pats. However, as Patriots fans well know, Bill Belichick likes to mix up his defenses, and even if he does decide to play more 4-3, that doesn’t mean he will completely abandon the 3-4. Also, you have to believe that any DE with any pass rushing skills, which Roth does have, will find greater-than-normal success playing next to Vince Wilfork and Albert Haynesworth, who will be occupying much of the offensive line’s attention.
Will the Patriots follow through and sign Matt Roth? That remains to be seen, but I certainly hope so.