As the next installment in our Yes/No series detailing the New England Patriots’ free agency, this morning we are deciding whether or not the Patriots should re-sign free agent linebacker Dane Fletcher.
The answer: NO
It appears that the dye has already been cast for Fletcher, as the Patriots elected not to activate him from the PUP list to the active roster in Week 7. Apparently, the Patriots felt better off with Jonathan Freeny, Darius Fleming and Dekoda Watson at the depth positions behind superstars Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins.
Why didn’t the Patriots activate proven veteran Fletcher? Well, it’s hard to say. One could look at his failed 2014 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after signing there as a free agent. Maybe Fletcher’s career has been on the downswing for some time now.
From the Dane Fletcher vault:
Or, it could have simply been a matter of special teams personnel… for instance, maybe deciding to put Fletcher on injured reserve allowed the Patriots to keep promising special teamer Brandon King on the active roster.
Regardless of their reasoning in Week 7, the Patriots should move on from Fletcher. It’s been two years and another ACL tear (that’s three total for the veteran) since he’s been a productive linebacker, leading this writer to wonder if Fletcher has anything left in the tank. After all, it took a pump-up speech from Fletcher’s mother to convince him to re-join the Patriots last offseason.
As for addressing the need for depth at inside linebacker, the Patriots should consider selecting Scooby Wright III in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Be sure to check back on Musket Fire tomorrow morning as we ponder the future of free agent linebacker Sealver Siliga.