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Three remaining free agent possibilities for Patriots

08.01.11 at 12:22 am ET
By

Braylon Edwards caught 53 passes for the Jets in 2010. (AP)

With free agency starting to slow a bit, there are still some options out there for the Patriots. Here’s a look at three players who might be in New England’s plans:

Outside linebacker/Defensive end Matt Roth

We’ve been beating the Matt Roth-to-New England drum since May, and still believe he’d be a good fit in the Patriots system. The 28-year-old is not an overwhelming pass rusher — he’s posted 20 career sacks in seven seasons in the NFL, including a combined 7.5 the last two years in Cleveland — but is an excellent complimentary piece who could provide depth outside, and, like Lawson, could also provide support in the run game.

Is he a fit with the Patriots? Yes. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Roth has familiarity with the responsibilities of an outside linebacker in a Bill Belichick-style 3-4 — since college, Roth has played almost exclusively for former Belichick lieutenants. As a collegian, he was with Kirk Ferentz at Iowa. In the pros, he’s also had stints with in Nick Saban (Miami) and Eric Mangini (Cleveland), which would likely mean an easy transition in New England.

Wide receiver Braylon Edwards

Boy, wouldn’t this make an already interesting preseason even more exciting? Edwards has spent most of the last two seasons with the Jets, and was a thorn in the Patriots’ side last season. (In all, Edwards has 326 receptions for 5,142 yards and 39 touchdowns in his seven-year career, and in two seasons with New York, he had 88 catches for 1,445 yards and 11 touchdowns.) He would come with serious baggage — the character questions, the penchant for some bad drops and DUI all has to be talked about when you discuss Edwards — but the 6-foot-3, 214-pounder remains one of the best free agent wide receiving possibilities left on the market.

Is he a fit with the Patriots? The acquisition of Chad Ochocinco makes a deal for Edwards far less likely, but the idea of Edwards staying in the middle of the AFC East’s best rivalry with New England is a fascinating possibility.

Nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin

Considered by many to be the best defensive lineman available in free agency, the 6-foot-1, 317-pound Franklin is entering his ninth year in the league. He’s spent the last four seasons with the 49ers and has developed a reputation as a solid run stopper. However, it’s hard to get a read on how San Francisco and Franklin view each other — the 49ers appear to have moved on from Franklin, having signed defensive end Ray McDonald to a five-year, $20 million deal and moved Isaac Sopoaga from end to Franklin’s spot on the nose. But it was reported Sunday that Franklin would be taking a free-agent “visit” with San Francisco. So who knows?

Is he a fit with the Patriots? Probably not. Just as the Patriots’ pickup of Ochocinco means they won’t go after another free-agent receiver, the acquisition of Albert Haynesworth means that New England could probably look elsewhere in free agency. (However, the Boston Herald reported late Sunday night that the Patriots were going to be working out another defensive lineman, Tommie Harris, so they could be loading up in an attempt to get beefier up front. That would certainly open the possibility of Franklin joining New England.)

Read More: Aubrayo Franklin, Braylon Edwards, Jason Taylor, Manny Lawson
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