Pending Patriot fee agents. Who will stay and who will go?
Now that the New England Patriots have done their job and the parade is over, its time to turn attention to free agency.
Free agency starts on March 10th and the Patriots will have a lot of decisions to make about several key contributors to the Super Bowl championship. Here is a list of the teams pending free agents.
LS Danny Aiken
DE Akeem Ayers
DT Alan Branch
LB Jonathan Casillas
OL Dan Connolly
FB James Develin (restricted)
K Stephen Gostkowski
S Devin McCourty
LB James Morris
WR Greg Orton
RB Stevan Ridley
DT Sealver Siliga (restricted)
WR Brian Tyms (restricted)
RB Shane Vereen
LB Chris White
Darrelle Revis isn't on this list since he is technically signed through 2015 but with a $20 million option that isn't likely to be picked up.
James Develin, Sealver Siliga and Brain Tyms are restricted free agents meaning the Patriots will have the chance to match any offer they receive from another team. In the cases of Develin and Siliga, unless the deals break the bank the Patriots would be likely to match the offer sheet.
The three main players that Patriots will need to address out of the free agent class have to be Devin McCourty, Stephen Gostkowski and Darrelle Revis, assuming they don't pick up his option. Those three players are not immediately replaceable through the draft or free agency and played a major role with the team this year.
The Patriots do have the franchise tag available. The franchise tag for safety is 9.6 million while the tag for the kicker is 4.12 million. Revis's contract stipulates that the franchise tag can't be used on him so that option is out.
If the Patriots can extend Revis and McCourty and tag Gostkowski that has to be viewed as a win. It might mean that the odd man out in this ends up being Shane Vereen.
Vereen rushed for 391 yards and added 52 catches for 447 yards. He also came up huge in the Super Bowl with 11 catches. Vereen was a huge reason that the offense was able to stay on the field. But the Patriots won't let one big game affect their outlook on a player. If they can get him for the right price they will. If not, they will find another player to replace him. But of all the pending free agents, Shane Vereen seems like the most likely to not be resigned.
Of the rest, Dan Connolly might be replaced by a rookie that comes to them in the draft. Guard was a problem this year and Connolly, while a leader on that offensive line, is getting older. It might be time to move on from him.
I can see Steven Ridley coming back for the league minimum on a one year prove it deal after the ACL injury. Akeem Ayers would be another one player that if they can get for a great deal that he would be back.
Overall this year, look for the Patriots to be more concerned with signing their own players rather than being big players in free agency. But when a team wins the Super Bowl their free agents can be highly coveted and get paid more than what they are worth. One team that won't over pay for is the Patriots and that might come into play.
What players do you think stay and what players go?
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