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Who Should the Patriots Target in Free Agency?

The New England Patriots director of college scouting moves on.

There are a lot of big names in NFL free agency this season. They are headlined by the Saints’ Jimmy Graham, but there is talent to be found at most postions. The New England Patriots could use help in a couple of areas, most notably the offensive and defensive line and the secondary.

Unfortunately for Patriots fans the team isn’t known for making big splashes in free agency. That’s not to say they won’t find the appropriate players to fill the right holes through the NFL draft and free agency, but you’re not likely to see the big names being thrown around playing in Foxboro in 2014.

That, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t at least speculate on who you would like to see rocking the floating Elvis head in the coming season.

Defensive Line

Let’s start with a somewhat realistic pickup, Clinton McDonald of the Seattle Seahawks. Right now the Seahawks are getting a lot of their players for chump change. Unfortunately for them, those players have all proven their value and it will be tough to pay them all in the offseason.

McDonald would add great depth to the defensive line in New England. He’s not likely a high priority for Seattle with the amount of players they have to resign so the Patriots will probably only be bidding against a handful of other teams. Whether or not they think they can solidify the defensive line through the draft or with other cheaper options remains to be seen.

The Secondary

There are quite a few interesting names floating around that could help out the Patriots secondary. Most people are saying that the team needs to get Aqib Talib re-signed before dealing with other matters. But the fact of the matter is that Talib hasn’t been able to stay healthy and considering Bob Kraft’s comment, “It’s not like we have unlimited funding so … He wasn’t on the field a lot of the time since he’s been with us,” Talib may not be a Patriot next season.

The potential loss of Talib doesn’t have to be a big blow as there are quite a few good players available to pick up. The two names that top the list would likely be Vontae Davis and Brent Grimes. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is available as well but he’s probably priced himself outside of the Patriots comfort zone. Neither Davis nor Grimes has the big build that has made Talib successful in New England but they are both ball hawks that would improve the pass defense.

While you’d like to see the Patriots keep a top level corner on the team, they could also look to sure up the back end of the secondary with guys like Jairus Byrd and Donte Whitner available at safety. It has become very clear that Steve Gregory is not cutting it in the backfield with Devin McCourty. It’s also clear that the answer doesn’t lie with Kanorris Davis, Tavon Wilson, Adrian Wilson or Nate Ebner.

The Reality

A lot is going to change between now and the start of the season. Some of the big name free agents, potentially some in this article, are going to receive the franchise tag. The 2014 NFL draft is going to occur where teams, including the Patriots, will address some of their needs with rookies. And, having observed the Patriots they will bring in a few low key additions that will somehow play a role in helping the team win next season. There are a lot of players out there that could help the Patriots get that next Super Bowl but the question becomes who are they willing to pay for and who is willing to come to New England?

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