New England Patriots: internal free agent preview
By Hal Bent
Position: Defensive Tackle
Overview: Shelton, like Malcom Brown, was a former first-round draft pick who disappointed in Cleveland and then struggled in New England. As was the case with Brown, the Patriots declined Shelton’s fifth-year option when given the chance. He struggled mightily at times and was benched for a lengthy stretch of the regular season as a DNP-CD.
Shelton is probably a better fit in a penetrating one-gap system where he can put his head down and drive upfield using his quickness and strength. He made one memorable play in the Super Bowl, executing a crushing tackle in the backfield of L.A. Rams running back C.J. Anderson.
Someone may see Shelton as a fit for their system and give him a “prove it” deal. The Patriots may want him back, but only at a discounted rate as a clear-cut part-time contributor and defensive specialist.
Expected Cost: One year “prove it” deal at $5 million per season, with limited guarantees.
Keep or Cut Loose: CUT LOOSE