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Reports: Patriots express interest in Sean Smith, Josh Cribbs

03.09.13 at 6:16 pm ET
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Josh Cribbs has reportedly drawn the interest of the Patriots. (AP)

Josh Cribbs reportedly has drawn the interest of the Patriots. (AP)

The latest free agent scuttlebutt involving the Patriots includes New England showing an interest in cornerback Sean Smith, as well as return man and receiver Josh Cribbs.

• Multiple outlets are reporting the Patriots are one of several teams who are interested in Smith, a 25-year-old defensive back who played the last four seasons with the Dolphins. The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder has five career interceptions, including two each in the last two seasons. Jason Cole of Yahoo! reports that New England is one of three teams in the mix for Smith, a group that includes the Bucs and Cardinals.

• A report from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer indicates that New England was one of several teams already expressing interest in Cribbs. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Cribbs has value as a multidimensional offensive threat and on special teams — he had 41 catches, 518 yards in 2011, both career highs, as well as 753 rushing yards and an average of 5.9 yards per carry. In addition, last season, he returned 38 punts for 457 yards and 43 kickoffs for 1,178 yards (27.4 yards per return). That certainly would deliver a boost to the New England return game, which averaged 21.2 yards on kickoff returns in 2012, placing it in the bottom half of the NFL. According to the Plain-Dealer, along with the Patriots, the Giants, 49ers, Cardinals and Cowboys also have shown interest in Cribbs.

• One other point that’s worth reiterating: James Harrison — who was released by the Steelers on Saturday and has taken plenty of shots at the Patriots over the years, was asked by ESPN if he was open to the idea of playing in New England. He answered: “Of course it would be nice to play with Tom Brady. I mean, who wouldn’t want to?” When it comes to the idea of Harrison in New England, it likely would be as a situational pass-rusher and (probably) not an every-down player. However, the Patriots are always looking for depth along their defensive front, and while he doesn’t have the body type that New England usually covets at that spot (think of the longer and leaner types like Willie McGinest and Chandler Jones, who measure in the 6-foot-5 vicinity as opposed to the 6-foot, 242-pound Harrison), he certainly would be an intriguing addition to the Patriots defense if he has anything left in the tank.

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