New England Patriots: Free Agent Targets


Dec 2, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace (17) prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M

Mike Wallace: There have been rumors going around as of late that the New England Patriots are interested in Mike Wallace. This should be no surprise to anyone, but the question is should they go after him? The Patriots have been missing that big play threat since the departure of Randy Moss a few years back. Mike Wallace is definitely going to hear from a lot of teams due to his big play-making ability and blazing speed, but there is just a few small problems with that. Of course, Wallace is a huge play maker but he isn’t a great route runner, at all. He makes most of his plays off his speed and just blowing past the corners, that is good at times. But what happens when he goes against one of the better corners and just can’t do that. This does concern be but I would rather see Wallace on the outside over Brandon Lloyd who’s going to be cut probably soon, if they can replace him.

Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin (81) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers (22) in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Anquan Boldin: Since the Super Bowl has been over it’s been noted for awhile that the Ravens may indeed part ways with Boldin. This is blatantly more obvious now due to Flacco’s huge deal he recently just got. Now that they paid their Franchise QB, that means certain players are going to have to take pay-cuts and some guys won’t resign. Some of those players who will be cut will be Anquan Boldin, it’s been stated for a little while that he won’t be taking a $2 million pay-cut. Today the Baltimore Sun reported earlier, per source, “it’s an absolute done deal “Ravens will release WR Anquan Boldin barring something dramatic.” This could be great news for Patriots fans, with Brady’s window closing Boldin is the ideal outside guy they truly need to grab. If he’s released the Patriots would be very foolish not to pursue him.

September 16, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola (16) celebrates after catching a one yard touchdown pass during the first half against the Washington Redskins at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Danny Amendola: Amendola is ideally the best option to replace Wes Welker, if the Patriots end up not resigning him. Now, I don’t see how they don’t resign him but if he doesn’t Amendola needs to be signed or we may be in trouble. Rumors lately have stated that they’re going to let Amendola test free agency. His stock may indeed drop due to the injuries have suffered over the years, but some teams will overlook that if they need to boost their receiving core. One of those teams will definitely be the Patriots because they don’t really have any depth at all. Matthew Slater isn’t really a true option to use as a wide receiver.

Jan 20, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed at press conference after the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game at Gillette Stadium. The Ravens defeated the Patriots 28-13. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Ed Reed: He’s was probably the first name that comes to mind when you think of Free Agency for the New England Patriots. It’s extremely obvious that their secondary needs to be upgraded either through the draft or through free agency. Now, Tavon Wilson did a very solid job this past season as a rookie but learning under Ed Reed for a season can definitely make a nice impact on him by learning from one of the best. But, the question is will he stay in Baltimore or not? The Ravens have a lot of players they need to re-sign but how high is Reed on their list of guys they want back? Not sure anyone knows but I see him in a Patriots uniform next season.

December 23, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Cleveland Browns punt returner Joshua Cribbs (16) returns a punt during the first half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Joshua Cribbs: Cribbs is another name that is being rumored around as of late. The Patriots are one of 5 teams that are supposedly interested in Cribbs according to According to Mary Kay Cabot with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, there are five teams interested in special teams ace and wide receiver Joshua Cribbs, who is entering free agency as an unrestricted free agent. And none of them are the Cincinnati Bengals. Thefive teams that Mary Key Cabot references are the New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals. This is very interesting because I never really thought he would be someone they would go after. I can see the Patriots possibly picking him up if they don’t get one of the top guys they want. I see him going with the Cowboys, but who knows because I’m not to sure on this one.

Aug 20, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Donte

Donte’ Stallworth: This may indeed catch a few people by surprise because it’s pretty much been assumed by most that he is out of New England, again but that isn’t necessarily the case. Stallworth might be getting up there in age but he showed vs the Texans that he’s still capable of playing well. The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe tweeted that the New England Patriots are interested in keeping veteran wide-out Donte’ Stallworth, but that a deal is on the “back burner” for “a bit longer” right now.

Oct 28, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Miami Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith (24) gestures on the field against the New York Jets during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Dolphins won 30-9. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Smith: The Patriots are the leading candidate for Smith according to Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports. This is definitely interesting because it’s been stated that the Patriots preference is to re-sign Aqib Talib. But if they can somehow land Smith and re-sign Talib that would a very good pick-up for the Patriots. It’ll be interesting to see how they look at the defensive backs in the free agency market and the draft.

According to ProFootballFocus, Smith was on the field for 1,068 snaps in 2012, with reasonably impressive coverage statistics; he limited opposing wide receivers to 62/113 receiving (54.9%) for 732 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions, while defending eight passes for an 85.1 quarterback rating against. He averaged 5.5 coverage snaps between targets, 1.17 yards per coverage snap, and 10.1 coverage snaps between catches allowed, suggesting he is slightly above average in comparison to the rest of the league.

Smith’s coverage statistics are more noteworthy in comparison to Aqib Talib, who, during his tenure with New England, was targeted once every 5.3 coverage snaps, allowed an average of 1.74 yards per coverage snap, and a catch on every eight snaps in coverage. All three of those figures would rank him near the bottom of the league, and his statistics with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are even less attractive.

These are some very interesting numbers but the problem might be that they may need to overpay for his services, if indeed true it would make plenty of sense to choose Smith over Talib if they have that option and go after another corner either through the draft or free agency.

December 11, 2011; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers cornerback Chris Gamble (20) during pre game against the Atlanta Falcons at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Gamble: He’s another name that is floating around that is connected to the New England Patriots. The Patriots would rather sign Talib back but they aren’t against having to move on and the ability to get two solid corners over Talib is much more appealing to them. Gamble was the 2nd best shutdown corner in 2011 behind Darelle Revis. It’s obvious that the option of having two over 1 could be pricier but it would definitely be better for the team in the long-run.

November 8, 2012; Jacksonville FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Derek Cox (21) prior to the game against the Indianapolis Colts at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Cox: This more of a common name your starting to hear around the NFL at the moment. Cox is starting to get some notice which is why it’s most likely he may be out of Jacksonville due to the fact he may just bolt to a better team and he’s definitely going to cost more than they would have hoped for. Some of the teams that are involved with Cox are the Redskins, Patriots, Bucs, and the Jags. Now all of these teams are going to have to stretch it out a little if they do indeed want the services of Derek Cox. The New England Patriots are definitely going to want to sign Cox and then possibly re-sign Taib, that is the dream scenario for their front office. Cox gave up a QB Rating of just 69.0 in 2012 and had four picks and just one touchdown allowed, per the Pro Football Focus.