The Patriots had both Dwight Freeney and John Abraham in for visits on Friday, both could greatly help the Patriots defense, but neither have signed and both are moving on.
After Dwight Freeney visits the Broncos tonight, league source says John Abraham's visit to Denver is Thursday
— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) March 20, 2013
Now, this doesn't exactly rule out that either could sign with the Patriots. However, it's not the best sign. If the Patriots really wanted them to stay in New England, you'd think they wouldn't have left. This indicates that either talks didn't go well or the Patriots have an offer out and the two want to see if they can beat it.
It's in my opinion that the Patriots need to bring in at least one of those guys. The pass rush should be a number one priority as it hasn't been up to par the past several years. Many blame the secondary of giving up big plays, but games are won up front and by making the quarterback uncomfortable.
Many also forget how young the Patriots defense is. They need some veterans to assume a leadership role and bring the young players along, if Chandler Jones was learning from John Abaraham or Dwight Freeney that would benefit him massively in the long run. The Patriots also have a young player in Armond Armstead from the CFL, who is obviously a big question mark, but could also use some veteran leadership.
The Patriots are in line with the Broncos and Ravens for the services of Freeney, Abraham and Elvis Dumervil. Denver has an offer out to Dumervil after the hilarious fax fiasco forced his release, but it's unclear if he will accept as he'd likely have to take a big pay cut after losing out on around $8 million due to the fax issue.
Dwight Freeney would be my choice to sign. I believe he still has a lot left to offer. Many forget - or don't realize - that the Colts switched to a 3-4 defense last year under new coach Chuck Pagano. Some might not know what that means, but for a defensive end like Freeney, it's a completely different position. He moved from defensive end to linebacker. He basically goes from pinning his ears back and rushing the quarterback for a decade, to then being asked to mix in running backwards and covering pass catchers. Did his numbers dip? You bet they did, but there's a pretty reasonable explanation as to why. He would fit much better in the Patriots 4-3 base and as a sub rusher.
Bill Belichick is known for letting players play to their strengths (remember Andre Carter?) so I have virtually no doubt in my mind that Freeney would succeed in New England, since Bill would ask him to do only what made him so great with the Colts before Pagano took over. Of course, the same goes for John Abraham who is coming off a 10 sack season.
I'd love to sign both, but with the competition heating up, that's sounding unrealistic. The Patriots will likely nab one - either Freeney or Abraham (Dumervil will be too pricey and doesn't fit their ideal measurables) - the question is just which one?