Yesterday it was reported that veteran Brian Hartline and Darnell Dockett had been released from their respective squads. Hartline and Dockett have both had extremely successful NFL careers, and it leads to you to wonder if the New England Patriots will show any interest in them over the next couple of weeks.
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The Pats don’t need as much help at wide receiver as they have needed in past years, but you could never have enough quality depth out there, especially if Danny Amendola were cut due to contract issues. Hartline spent six seasons down in Miami, totaling 298 receptions, 4,243 yards, and 12 touchdowns. He isn’t going to burn you deep five times a game, and he probably will never take over a game the way a Calvin Johnson, or Rob Gronkowski will. But he is reliable, is a smart-route runner, and would be a solid replacement for Amendola (as a sidenote, I really hope Danny stays).
As for Dockett, it sounds like the Cardinals are going to try really hard to bring him back under a different cap number, but if not, it would an interesting fit for the two sides in New England. The Pats need some depth along the defensive line, and Dockett, while getting up there in age, can still produce at a high level, and is very versatile, which is something Bill Belichick loves. Dockett has a whopping 40.5 career sacks, and could be brought in on a cheaper deal looking to capture that elusive Super Bowl ring. He certainly wouldn’t be an every-down starter at this age, but in specific situations I could see him playing a key role for whatever team he lands on over the next few weeks.
All of this really doesn’t matter that much compared to the bigger task the Pats face, which is re-signing Darrele Revis and Devin McCourty. If they can’t do that, their offseason changes drastically. Bring back Revis and McCourty, then worry about everyone else.