Patriots free agency has been quite a whirlwind so far. Day 3 brought a big loss, but some hope as well.
Break out the tissues, Pats fans. The Patriots are most likely getting $8 million richer (and 325 pounds lighter) at the cost of beloved defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. The team had been trying to renegotiate Big Vince’s contract from his $7.5 million base salary and $11.6 million cap number, but Wilfork refused and asked to be released Thursday. It’s not surprising that he would feel slighted, given his production for the team and the fact that they just gave Darrelle Revis such a huge contract. Wilfork is coming off of a torn achilles that sidelined him for most of 2013, but he has been the epicenter of the Pats defense since 2004. Chris Jones and Sealver Siliga are great young defensive tackles, but it will be a huge loss if Wilfork goes. The Patriots will definitely need to pick up a tackle from the market, but there are slim pickings, so they may have to resort to the draft.
The Pats were, however, able to renegotiate with another veteran defensive tackle. Tommy Kelly allowed the team to cut his base salary by $1 million, agreeing to take some incentives instead, saving the Patriots $850,000 in cap space.
The Pats are apparently still trying to beef up their secondary, which they’ve had problems with in the recent past, by maybe signing cornerback Brandon Browner. I say maybe because it was reported that they reached an agreement on a two-year deal, to which Browner’s agent responded was untrue, blaming “irresponsible journalists.” (See the chaos unfold here). What is for sure though is that Browner came to Foxboro for a free agent visit Thursday. The huge 6 foot 4 inch, 220 pound defensive back would come at a discount, too, as he has to serve a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, which would cost him four games worth of pay.
The Patriots are keeping in contact with Julian Edelman, but he’s still testing the market. The Browns are interested, but they’re close to a deal with slot receiver Andrew Hawkins, so it’s unclear whether or not they’d immediately pursue another receiver. The Ravens are said to be interested, but they’re also interested in Steve Smith. Edelman also has a visit scheduled with the 49ers on Friday.
If Edelman doesn’t work out, then the Patriots are part of the fight for Steve Smith. The Patriots were one of five teams who Smith said he’d agree to a trade with, and the Patriots are reportedly interested. This seems to be the same case for the Ravens as well though, so someone will probably scoop him up quickly, regardless of who it is.