Both former Patriots Kyle Love and Brandon Deaderick are now Jacksonville Jaguars. They must be thrilled about that.
Deaderick was a starter at times, but mostly a rotational player. However, Love held down the fort alongside Vince Wilfork. His release can either be attributed to the fact that he was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or to the fact that the Patriots just want to move in a different direction.
While we wish the much luck in their games in the AFC south, particularly against the Texans, the Patriots will have to move on and find ways to fill the very literal big gaps the two left behind.
Who are some free-agents available to fill the void?
1. Casey Hampton: The former Steeler is unwanted by his former team and so that's kind of a double edged sword right there. On the one hand, it obviously means he's very available but on the other, why does Pittburgh not want their own guy back?
The 12 year vet certainly couldn't play the same role that young guys like Love and Deaderick did for New England. In addition, he might not be that much of a fit being a nose tackle all those years in the Steel Curtain. Still, he's the biggest name and the most talented guy left out there.
Belichick tends to get the most out of aging players by putting them in the best position to succeed. So, while his fit for the scheme is something important to consider, that's not to say he couldn't find a place on this team. I just don't see it happening though.
2. Sione Po'uha The ex-Jet was released over two months ago and still hasn't found a landing spot. I thought at the time of his release that the Patriots should be interested, but they never were.
Pouha is kind of a similar case to Hampton in that he largely played nose tackle in the 3-4, but I do think he is a bit more versatile. Seeing as he's been out there for so long I do not see money being a major obstacle here. The seven year vet could find a nice spot in Belichick's defense. He was also one of Rex Ryan's favorite players, and say what you want about Ryan, I do trust his opinion when it comes to defense.
3. Amobi Okoye So the Patriots don't exactly have the pick of the litter at this point in free-agency, Okoye has struggled with some injuries lately but the one thing he does bring in pass rush. Okoye has had a sack in every year he's been in the league (including four in 2011), which is a lot more than you can say than some of his fellow free-agent d-linemen. He spent last year, his sixth season, with the Chicago Bears and played in nine games. He was released in November but brough back less than a month later. That certainly doesn't speak well of his skill set but we've seen Belichick bring in long snapper to play for his defense before.
So those are the three. Richard Seymour certainly has to be mentioned here. He's still out there, and can obviously fit in with a Belichick defense, granted it's changed a bit since he was here. Still, I think every slightly knowledgeable observer of the Patriots can rule out a Seymour return after the shocking trade back in 2009.