The New England Patriots have made a few big moves thus far in free agency, addressing a few needs, while also leaving others unfilled. Here are the top three remaining needs for the Pats:
1. Wide Receiver
As of right now, Tom Brady’s starting wide receiver duo is Kenbrell Thompkins, and Danny Amendola. That just won’t cut it. The Pats have done great things to upgrade their defense, but it won’t matter if Brady doesn’t have the weapons to out-duel Peyton Manning in 2014.
New England has been talking with Julian Edelman throughout this free agency period, although there are several other teams interested. The real prize in my mind, is Emmanuel Sanders. He is better than Edelman, and may come cheaper. But for some reason, it doesn’t seem like the Patriots are pursuing him. Sanders has visited with several other teams, and (for some odd reason), he reportedly likes it down in Jacksonville.
It doesn’t really matter who it is at this point, but Bill Belichick needs to get Brady some weapons.
2. Defensive Tackle
New England has upgraded their secondary, but the defensive line has taken a step back. Vince Wilfork has asked to be released, which not only depletes the middle of their defense, but they lose a valuable leader in the locker room. Having a combination of Tommy Kelly, Sealver Siliga, and Chris Jones is solid, but the Pats still need to add more to that position. There aren’t many guys left in free agency that can make an impact, which leaves us with the draft. Louis Nix III out of Notre Dame seems to fit the Vince Wilfork mold perfectly, and I don’t think anyone would be surprised to see him selected by the Patriots come May.
3. Defensive End
Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich are firmly entrenched as the starters out on the edge, but reinforcements are still needed. Those two played 95% of the snaps last year, and were inconsistent in getting pressure on the quarterback throughout the season. If New England can add a veteran pass rusher, that pass defense may be the best in football. I think Julius Peppers would be a nice fit in Foxboro, and even though he won’t fit as well as Peppers would, Jared Allen is also available. Can you imagine Peppers, Jones, and Ninkovich all coming after Peyton this January? Scary stuff.