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Patriots looking to deal for Oakland’s Burgess

05.18.09 at 8:05 pm ET
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WEEI.com has confirmed a report the Patriots are interested in acquiring Oakland’€™s Derrick Burgess. The deal would send Burgess to New England in exchange for a second- or third-round pick in 2010.

The Patriots’ possible interest in Burgess was first reported by ESPN.

The move would appear to fill New England’s need for a pass rusher that became necessary when outside linebacker Mike Vrabel was traded to Kansas City in February. The 30-year-old Burgess has 38½ sacks over the last four seasons in Oakland, including a franchise-record 16 in 2005. The two-time Pro Bowler is entering the final year of his contract, and is reportedly seeking a new deal — he has stayed away from voluntary workouts lately to show his displeasure. (According to NFLPA records, he’€™s due to earn a base salary of $2 million in 2009.)

It’€™s believed that Burgess, who is listed as a 6-foot-2, 260-pound defensive end, could move to outside linebacker in New England’€™s 3-4 defense. He has been hobbled by injury the last couple of years, but could still bring an instant jolt to the Patriots’€™ pass rush.

‘€œIt would be a great move for the Pats,’€ said a league source. ‘€œBurgess can rush very well, and the Pats need a rusher.’€

Burgess’€™ agent Jimmy Sexton did not return an e-mail seeking comment.

A Mississippi product, Burgess was taken in the third round of the 2001 draft out by Philadelphia, and appeared in all 16 games as a rookie and had six sacks. In 2002, however, he broke his foot in the first game of the season and missed the rest of the year. He also missed all of 2003 due to a torn Achilles.

The South Carolina native came into his own in 2004, when he played in 12 games with the Eagles and had three sacks, including one in a Super Bowl XXXIX loss to New England. He then signed with the Raiders, and proceeded to have two of the finest seasons in Oakland history for a pass rusher, notching 16 sacks in 2005 and 11 sacks in 2006 and reaching the Pro Bowl both years.

The Patriots haven’€™t been able to land a pass rusher in free agency to replace Vrabel, and weren’€™t enamored with any of the possibilities in the draft. Earlier this month, New England’€™s director of player personnel Nick Caserio was extremely complimentary of the current crop of Patriots’ outside linebackers, but hinted New England could still make some moves between now and the start of the season.

‘€œWe don’€™t play a game until September,’€ Caserio said when asked specifically about the outside linebacker spot. ‘€œThis isn’€™t the last opportunity for us — the draft — to find a player we believe could help us. There are other opportunities to build your football team.

‘€œA lot can happen between now and [the start of the season].’€

Read More: Derrick Burgess,
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