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The Patriots are walking a very fine line between keeping key players in New England while being able to bring in other guys vs. exceeding the salary cap. Their cap situation is not ideal to make a big splash in free agency. And 2 notable key Patriots free agents to keep your eye on are wide receiver Julian Edelman and corner Aqib Talib. Either one could handcuff the Pats from a cap standpoint should they decide to re-sign with New England.

Per Nick Underhill of Masslive.com:

That's not much room to play with. Re-sign someone like cornerback Aqib Talib, wide receiver Julian Edelman or running back LeGarrette Blount, and the coffers are emptied. Now, money can be created by restructuring contracts, releasing guys, or getting creative with how deals are structured, but eventually you have to face reality.

The Patriots can restructure, as Underhill suggests, but will it be enough to give the Patriots the needed flexibility to keep both Talib and Edelman around AND go get another weapon for Tom Brady? Doubtful. Very doubtful. They could decide to re-sign both guys, but that would give them little to no flexibilty with bringing in other guys from free agency.

The Patriots will more than likely need to prioritize and decide which guy is more important to building a title contender. Or they could decide that they're fine with the team they have. Which is what they would have to do if they decide to bring back both Talib. So think about this, Pats fans: Do you want to see the Patriots be a little more aggressive in free agency or do you want keep much the same team as last year? It seems highly unlikely that they'll be able to do both.

Read also: 5 likely destinations for Talib
4 likely destinations for Edelman

Unknown 2/13/2014 01:16:00 PM Edit
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