Free agent snapshot: Marcus Spears
|06.14.11 at 12:13 am ET|
We put together a list of nine free-agent possibilities for the Patriots this offseason — check out that group here — but we wanted your take on who the 10th should be. We got more than 450 votes, and in the end, the people went with defensive end Marcus Spears by a narrow margin over Braylon Edwards, Plaxico Burress and Mike Vrabel. And so, without further ado, a profile of the peoples’ choice, Marcus Spears.
Position: Defensive end
The six-year veteran isn’t likely to return to Dallas — he announced it on his Twitter page on Feb. 28 that while “it’s still possible” that he could be back with the Cowboys, the unrestricted free agent was going to be “testing the market.” The LSU product (who played for Bill Belichick protege Nick Saban for a year in college) was a first-round selection of Dallas in 2005 (20th overall). His numbers have been OK, but for such a high pick, he’s had something of an underwhelming career. While he has held up well against the run, in six seasons, he’s had just eight sacks and 185 tackles (the high point was a career-high 45 tackles in 2006). In addition, Spears was hobbled by injury in 2010 — he suffered a sprained knee, which wiped out most of August, as well as a left calf strain that ended his season.
However, his backers believe that a new atmosphere with a new series of challenges could serve to re-invigorate his career. Spears is a veteran of the 3-4, and with a background in a Saban and Bill Parcells system, it’s likely the transition to a Belichick defense would be fairly swift. Other than last year’s injury, he’s been very durable — 2010 marked the only season where he played less than 16 regular-season games. And by all accounts, he’s a solid presence in the locker room. He’s not going to be the pass-rushing presence that so many fans were clamoring for, but will certainly give the Patriots depth at a spot where they were lacking late last season.
Why it might not work: Despite the occasional spotty numbers, the potential and the age are going to make him an attractive target for several teams. In addition, it figures that if the Patriots are able to re-sign veteran Gerard Warren for a reasonable rate — and if fellow d-linemen Ty Warren and the versatile Mike Wright are healthy after spending extended time on the sideline last year because of injury — that would eliminate the need to bring in someone like Spears. And New England does have many young defensive linemen, including Brandon Deaderick, Kyle Love and Ron Brace, as well as freshly-signed veteran Marcus Stroud. If they feel like they are secure at that spot, they’d likely forget about going after Spears.
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