New England Patriots: Ranking Internal Free Agent Priorities
By Hal Bent
SHOULD BE BACK:
Bolden is the prototypical “Bill Belichick guy”. He is a core-four special teams player who uses maximum effort to make-up for a lack of talent. An afterthought on offense, the special teams veteran provides value in a role often not seen outside the locker room. Bolden–short of a Belichick disciple overpaying for him–should return in 2017 and beyond.
Fleming did not have a lot of playing time in 2016. For the Patriots, that is good news. A back-up swing tackle, Fleming was active over veteran LaAdrian Waddle mainly due to his strong play as blocking tight end. A force in the running game and a solid back-up, Fleming has down well carving a role in New England. As a restricted free agent, unless an opposing team falls in love with him, he should return.
Another special teams maven, King is an exclusive rights free agent. As long as the Patriots make an offer, he is off the market. King is a valuable special teams player and will not cost much to keep. Expect to see him fighting for one of the last roster spots again this summer in New England.
Another exclusive rights free agent, Coleman seemed to take a step backwards as far as playing on defense. Coleman played primarily on special teams and that prowess allowed him to stay on the roster ahead of promising cornerbacks Crevon LeBlanc and Darryl Roberts. Coleman should be back in training camp fighting for a job.