As training camp slowly approaches, one of the most interesting positions to watch for the New England Patriots, is the defensive tackle position. There is a ton of talent there, but nearly everybody is coming off of a big injury, which questions how good this group will actually be in 2014.
Yesterday, Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston talked about former free agent defensive tackle Kevin Williams, and why the contract the Pats offered him may have given us some insight into how they view their defensive line.
The Patriots didn’t lose out on free-agent defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who agreed to join the Seahawks on Thursday, because of money. In fact, Williams told ESPN.com NFL Nation Vikings reporter Ben Goessling that the Patriots actually offered a contract with greater earning potential than Seattle. That’s a surprise to me, and it might reflect some internal concern with 11-year veteran Tommy Kelly (coming back from a torn ACL) and first-year player Armond Armstead (missed 2013 season due to an infection and hasn’t been practicing the past two weeks). Also, first-round draft choice Dominique Easley is coming off a torn ACL, and stalwart veteran Vince Wilfork is coming back from a ruptured Achilles.
When the Patriots first expressed interest in Williams, I didn’t think they needed to add him to their team. However the more it was talked about, the more I began to think that New England would really benefit from having Williams in the fold. When you have so many players coming back from major injuries, you need some solid insurance behind them just in case they can’t come back 100%, or miss some extra time.
Not only does Williams give you that, but he has proven throughout his career that he is a terrific run stopper, and at a decent price, I would have loved to see him in a Patriots uniform in 2014. And now that he is up in Seattle, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bill Belichick sign a different defensive tackle, in an effort to bolster their depth before the season begins.