WEIGHT: 200 LBS
” He isn’t going to help neutralize the elite pass rushers, rush for positive yardage nor is he going to help remind Brandon LaFell to bring his hands to the stadium on game day… “
As you probably already know, San Diego isn’t going to use the franchise tag on Weddle, so it looks like they are headed for an inevitable break up and rumor has it that Weddle is more interested in playing for a team that actually has the chance to go to the playoffs and win a Super Bowl than hitting the lotto with a sub .500 team.
If this is true, enter the Patriots, a team that perennially contends for the Super Bowl.
Yes, you’re right, Eric Weddle isn’t a running back nor any offensive player for that matter. He isn’t going to help neutralize the elite pass rushers, rush for positive yardage nor is he going to help remind Brandon LaFell to bring his hands to the stadium on game day. What he is going to bring though, is his elite playmaking ability to the defensive side of the ball, something New England lacked this past season.
Imagine coach Belichick having a chess piece like Weddle to move all over his proverbial chessboard and the headaches they would cause opposing offenses. Safety isn’t a need for New England, but two things come to mind; A) The game is forever evolving, and B) as Denver proved this year, defense can still win championships, and do not believe for a second that because McCourty and Chung are locked into the two safety positions that Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia wont find a way to get Weddle on the field.
New England already deploys a sub-package defense with five defensive backs, four down linemen (the combination of hybrid DE’s and OLB’s and DT’s) and the two young stud linebackers Hightower and Collins. With Weddle in the fold, this would allow Belichick to move Chung into the box to help with the run or align him over the tight end and play closer without worrying about him giving up the big play over the top. Of course Harmon did more than enough to suffice this role when called upon, but only really seen the field in passing situations. Weddle’s intangibles, big play ability, experience and smarts are undeniable, he would help fill the void Jerod Mayo left as a veteran leader.
Although he had a down season last year, remember he played on a sub par San Diego defense where the pieces around him weren’t anything to brag about and in all actuality, as a whole, the Chargers defense hasn’t been that great since the days of Shawn Merriman and Shaun Phillips wreaking havoc from the edges. As it comes to Weddle though, I would like to consider last year’s disappointing season an aberration. Even though he is on the wrong side of 30, he is just a year removed from a season where he named First Team All Pro, and with him being the workout warrior he is, I am under the assumption he will return to form and his skills and ability didn’t just drop-off of a cliff like Peyton Manning’s did.
I know money is a concern with obvious needs on the offensive side of the ball and people salivating over the idea of Matt Forte sharing the same backfield as Tom Brady, but there are ways to create cap space and I’m sure if Weddle and New England share a common interest in joining forces, New England will create the financially flexibility needed to make such a move.