It's only September 1st and we can already say two of the team's biggest free-agent signings have turned into failures.
Aside from the signing of Danny Amendola and the re-signing of cornerback Aqib Talib, the Patriots biggest moves were bringing in Adrian Wilson and Leon Washington. Neither made the final roster.
Wilson was put on injured reserve, but we all know it wasn't due to the "hamstring" injury he's apparently dealing with. The Patriots were paying the veteran a courtesy. The once great Arizona Cardinal looked slow and washed up in Patriots camp and preseason games. He played deep into last Thursday's game, all but sealing his fate that he wouldn't be joining the squad come September 8th in Buffalo.
Leon Washington is a different story. The kick return specialist only had one good return in preseason, but that lack of production is hard to fault him for. Returning kicks for touchdowns takes a lot of things going right. It's on the kick returner once he can get into space, but it's not often that he's given the opportunities to take one back for a long return.
Washington had a fumble in the final preseason game, but is that enough to boot him off the roster? He has a long illustrious NFL career proving that he can handle the kick return role. Without him, the team will have to turn to injury prone Julian Edelman, unproven Brandon Bolden, rookie Josh Boyce or even back to Devin McCourty.
The Patriots wasted the free-agency crop and it's hurting their final product on the field.
There's one troubling element of this team. They have a lot of special teamers, and a lot of undrafted free-agents. Today, they claimed four players off waivers. Three of them were undrafted free-agents.
#patriots claimed 4 players off waivers: LB Chris White (MissSt), OL Braxston Cave (ND), DT AJ Francis (Maryland), OL Chris Barker (Nev)
— shalise manza young (@shalisemyoung) September 1, 2013
The Patriots have had a lot of success with undrafted free-agents in the past, no doubt. However, the more your roster is chock full of these guys, the more diluted the overall talent on your team is. Sure, some of them could easily become contributors, but most of these guys won't add much more than being a solid special teams player.
The Patriots have 7 undrafted rookie free-agents on their roster. There's nothing wrong with undrafted free-agents, but wouldn't the team rather lean on veterans instead adding even more unproven players into the mix?
This roster isn't final, but it's pretty close to it. The Patriots are extremely thin at some key spots: corner, safety, defensive line and tight end. That depth is going to most certainly be tested at points in the season, and can this big mix of rookie free-agents step up to the challenge? We simply don't know.
For a team that's supposed to be contending for a Super Bowl. That's not the greatest thing in the world.