In honor of today being Valentines Day, here are five “perfect free agent matches”, for the Patriots.
1. Emmanuel Sanders
The Pats were close to making this happen last year, but Pittsburgh matched their offer, and Sanders spent the year with the Steelers. But he is a free agent once again, and I couldn’t think of a player more made for a team. New England loves versatility, which is exactly what Sanders brings to the table. He can play in the slot, as well as the outside, and he is pretty damn effective in either position. The Patriots also need some explosive talent to add to their offense, because as great as Julian Edelman was in 2013, he doesn’t have the physical skills of a Sanders.
2. Alex Mack
I don’t know how much money Mack is going to command, but the Patriots will be looking to upgrade the interior of their offensive line, and Mack is the best center currently on the market. Ryan Wendell didn’t have a great year, and I don’t expect him to be re-signed. Mack played well while he was in Cleveland, and I could definitely see him in a Pats uniform next year.
3. Donte Whitner
Last offseason, I thought one of the most important things the Patriots needed, was a hard hitting safety. But as the season wore on, I thought that in today’s NFL, a physical safety wasn’t as important as we all thought. However I have changed my mind again. After seeing what the Seattle Seahawks did to the Broncos in the Super Bowl, I am convinced that if New England went out and got a hard hitting safety, they would be a better football team. Now unlike the 2013 offseason, I don’t feel like it is an absolute “need”. Steve Gregory is a solid player, and had a good 2013 campaign. But the thought of Whitner patrolling the middle of the field is enticing, and it would be fun to see him land in Foxboro.
4. Ted Ginn
Why not? As long as Ginn doesn’t want a ridiculous contract, I don’t see why the Pats can’t take a flyer on him. He is blazing fast, and he could be a guy that comes in to run go routes every single time. Stunting the growth of their young receivers would be a concern, but if Bill Belichick and company feel like he won’t present that problem, then I say go for it.
5. Ziggy Hood
The Patriots struggled to stop the run after Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly went down last year, so adding a talented guy like Hood wouldn’t be a bad idea. This year’s draft has some talented defensive tackles as well, but Hood is a proven commodity in this league, and he could make a solid impact in New England.