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2014 NFL Offseason: New England Patriots

Draft Grades, Season Previews, Team Needs, Free Agents

New England Patriots (Last Year: 12-4)

Season Summary:
The Patriots were obviously disappointed with losing in the AFC Championship, but if you were to tell them back in June that Aaron Hernandez would be arrested for murder charges, and that Rob Gronkowski and many other key players would suffer injuries for an extended period of time, I think they would've taken that result.

Offseason Moves:
  • Patriots cut S Adrian Wilson
  • Patriots re-sign C Ryan Wendell
  • Steelers sign RB LeGarrette Blount
  • Patriots sign WR Brandon LaFell
  • Patriots re-sign WR Julian Edelman
  • Patriots sign CB Brandon Browner
  • Buccaneers sign ILB Dane Fletcher
  • Patriots sign CB Darrelle Revis
  • Patriots cut NT Isaac Sopoaga
  • Broncos sign CB Aqib Talib
  • Patriots re-sign TE Michael Hoomanawanui
  • Patriots cut S Steve Gregory

    Team Needs:
    1. Center: Tom Brady was constantly under pressure before the Patriots established their strong rushing attack in the second half of the season. The primary culprit for the poor pass protection was center Ryan Wendell, who will see his contract expire in March. Re-signed Ryan Wendell

    2. Tight End: Rob Gronkowski can't seem to stay healthy, but even if he returns to the field and is able to play most of the 2014 season, the Patriots will need to fill the void left by Aaron Hernandez. Perhaps this can be fixed with an early selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.

    3. Nose Tackle: It's going to be difficult for a big man like Vince Wilfork to completely come back from a torn Achilles at the age of 32. The Patriots should look into spending a Round 2-4 pick on a potential successor.

    4. Right Guard: Dan Connolly was a big disappointment for the Patriots in 2013. Bill Belichick may want to find an upgrade.

    5. Two Wide Receivers: Danny Amendola has definitely not lived up to expectations. Julian Edelman has picked up the slack, and the young receivers have shown some flashes, but the Patriots are still hurting at wideout. A veteran could be brought in to help. Edelman also needs to be re-signed. Re-signed Julian Edelman; signed Brandon LaFell

    6. Cornerback Depth: Aqib Talib is slated to be a free agent. Alfonzo Dennard and Logan Ryan will be the starters if he leaves, but New England will need to get deeper at the position. Signed Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner

    7. Safety Depth: Adrian Wilson, another 30-something Patriot coming off a torn Achilles, could be released this offseason. Depth will be needed at safety. Signed Patrick Chung

    8. Defensive End Depth: The Patriots could use another pass-rusher behind Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich. A mid-rounder should suffice.

    9. Running Back: LeGarrette Blount has been a revelation for the Patriots, but he also happens to be an impending free agent.

      Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    2014 NFL Free Agent Signings:
    1. Darrelle Revis, CB, Buccaneers. Age: 29.
      Signed with Patriots (1 year, $12 million)

      The Buccaneers dumping Darrelle Revis after just one season is insane considering that they traded the No. 13 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft (Sheldon Richardson), as well as Round 3-4 selection this May for him. Revis had a rocky start to his 2013 season because Tampa stupidly used him in a zone, but he was great down the stretch. Turning 29 in July, Revis still has four strong seasons remaining, making him the only five-star free agent this offseason.

    2. Brandon Browner, CB, Seahawks. Age: 30.
      Signed with Patriots (3 years, $17 million)

      Brandon Browner is more talented than 2.5 stars, but he'll miss four games with a suspension relating to violating the league's substance abuse policy. Another infraction could knock him out for an entire season.

    3. Brandon LaFell, WR, Panthers. Age: 27. -- Signed with Patriots (3 years, $11 million)
    4. Patrick Chung, S, Eagles. Age: 27. -- Signed with Patriots

    New England Patriots Free Agents:

    Salary Cap: TBA.
    1. Aqib Talib, CB, Patriots. Age: 28.
      Signed with Broncos (6 years, $57 million)

      Aqib Talib is awesome when he's on, but he can have meltdowns when he's struggling, which is what happened against the Panthers in a Monday night loss. He's a legitimate No. 1 corner though, provided he stays out of trouble.

    2. Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots. Age: 28.
      Re-signed with Patriots

      Everyone assumed Danny Amendola would take over Wes Welker's role, but Julian Edelman stepped up instead. He caught 105 passes this past season. He's also an effective punt returner.

    3. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots. Age: 27.
      Signed with Steelers (2 years)

      LeGarrette Blount has turned his career around in New England. Tampa Bay thoughtlessly discarded him, yet Blount was able to find a home with the Patriots. He averaged five yards per carry in 2013, though he still isn't any sort of factor in the passing game.

    4. Brandon Spikes, ILB, Patriots. Age: 26.
      Brandon Spikes saw a drop in snaps this year because of his deficiencies in coverage. He's still very stout in run support, however.

    5. Ryan Wendell, C, Patriots. Age: 28.
      Re-signed with Patriots (2 years)

      Ryan Wendell had an excellent 2012 campaign, so his regression is a total mystery. He was so bad this year that he nearly got Tom Brady killed in several games.

    6. Adrian Wilson, S, Patriots. Age: 34.
    7. Steve Gregory, S, Patriots. Age: 31.
    8. Will Svitek, OT, Patriots. Age: 32.
    9. Michael Hoomanawanui, TE, Patriots. Age: 26. -- Re-signed with Patriots (2 years)
    10. Dane Fletcher, ILB, Patriots. Age: 27. -- Signed with Buccaneers (1 year, $2 million)
    11. Isaac Sopoaga, NT, Patriots. Age: 32.

    NFL Free Agent Tracker:
    QB | RB | FB | WR | TE | OT | G | C | DE | DT | OLB | ILB | CB | S | K/P | FA Grades | FA Rumors

    NFL Free Agents - April 17

    2015 NFL Mock Draft - April 17

    2014 NFL Mock Draft - April 16

    Fantasy Football Rankings - March 28

    2014 NBA Mock Draft - March 26

    NFL Picks - Feb. 2

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