Jan 11, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (29) celebrates with quarterback Tom Brady (12) after scoring a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts in the first half during the 2013 AFC divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots: Looking at Pending Free Agents

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I know that the New England Patriots are in the midst of another playoff run, and that’s what really matters, but I’ve been very interested in talking about what the Patriots will do with their upcoming free agents. On twitter in recent days, I’ve seen people talking about three players in particular, and a couple other big names who have expiring contracts, and I’d like to give my opinion on who’s coming back, and who’s on their way out the door. Let’s get started with the biggest one…

Aqib Talib- CB

Talib is my biggest concern for this upcoming free agency period for the New England Patriots, as he has been among the most important players on the entire team, let alone just on the defense. His meteoric rise into becoming one of the best cornerbacks in the league, has had people calling for a contract extension for a very long time. My guess is that Talib will come back, because the Patriots have shown a ton of faith in him, and made him want to be here. It will cost a fair chunk of coin to keep him, but I’d say a two-year, incentive heavy deal (bonuses for pro-bowl, all-pro, defensive MVP, games played etc.) should be enough to keep him around as one of the centerpieces on this defense.

Julian Edelman- WR

Everyone’s favorite little wide receiver (Sorry Danny) has his contract coming up as well after  he signed a one year deal this past offseason. With the way Mintron has played this year, 105 catches, 1056 yards and six touchdowns show just how important he was to Tom Brady and the inconsistent Patriots offense. I can’t imagine that they would let Brady’s favorite target leave for a second straight year, so I imagine a deal with Edelman will be one of the priorities this offseason for the Patriots. It’s integral that they keep the core of this team as tight as possible in the waning years of the Brady-Belichick era.

LeGarrette Blount- RB

#BlountForceTrauma has become a huge part of the Patriots offensive game plan, if not THE focal point. Blount finally realizing his potential as a super power back, with deceptive second level speed, has made him the best pickup this offseason. Compared to the first two, I’m a little hesitant on what will happen to Mr. Blount. Edelman and Talib are necessities, where as Blount in more of a luxury, with the likes of Ridley and Vereen in the backfield as well, who are more than capable of shouldering the load together. My guess is he sticks around, because again, they’ve given a troubled player like Blount a home, and made him a focal point. Who knows if Blount would have nearly the same amount of success somewhere else. So long as the price tag is reasonable enough, I do see the Patriots bringing back everyone’s favorite bruiser.

Brandon Spikes- LB

Here is where the first casualty lies. Brandon Spikes has had a somewhat tumultuous tenure in New England, and I think that he has already played his last game as a Patriot. He’s one of the best in football stopping the run, but his lack of speed, and inability to cover has put him in some awful situations. I like Spikes, and I know that a lot of the Patriots love him as well, with his very outgoing attitude and “PowWWwwW”-ing on twitter, but I don’t he’ll be back. If I had to make a prediction as to where he’d end up, my educated guess would be the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts are lacking in the linebacker department, and Spikes would be a godsend to help their woeful run defense.

Ryan Wendell- C

The Patriots offensive line has been an adventure this year. The run blocking has been phenomenal as evident in the last couple games, but the pass blocking might be at its very worst. Wendell is the weak link in the line, and also happens to have an expiring contract. My guess is the Patriots would address this during free agency since they need people who can contribute right away, and the draft can be risky, especially with a center.

Other notable free agents:

Will Svitek OT, Dane Fletcher LB, Michael Hoomanawanui TE, Danny Aiken LS, Austin Collie WR, Matthew Mulligan TE

Who would guys like to see get brought back, and who would you like to be sent packing out of New England? Let me know in the comments section.

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