|Five remaining free agents who might fit with Patriots||03.18.13 at 12:58 am ET|
With almost a week of free agency in the books, most of the big-ticket players have already been signed. But here are five guys who are still available who could ultimately find their way to Foxboro before the craziness concludes:
Emmanuel Sanders: There’s been no shortage of talk about Sanders over the last few days, but as it stands right now, there’s no offer sheet in place from New England that would start the ball rolling on the receiver joining the Patriots. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t think about how the restricted free agent might fit in the New England offense — in his three-year career, Sanders has 94 receptions for 1,290 yards and five TDs, including 44 receptions for 626 yards and one touchdown in 2012. A third-round pick in 2010 out of SMU, he would cost the Patriots a third-round pick if he did sign with New England because of the tender. Sanders reportedly took to Facebook over the weekend to confirm that he has not signed anything.
John Abraham: The former Falcon reportedly paid a visit to Foxboro at the start of the weekend, but left without a deal in place. As we wrote here, the fact that the Patriots kicked the tires on Abraham conjures up memories of Andre Carter, who was in town for one season and finished with double-digit sacks and helped boost an occasionally sluggish pass rush back in 2011. The 34-year-old Abraham, who recently was cut loose by the Falcons after seven seasons in Atlanta, has spent a total of 13 seasons in the league. The 6-foot-4, 263-pounder has at least 9.5 sacks in each of his last three seasons, and has 122 sacks over the course of his career.
Dwight Freeney: The former Colt is in a similar situation as Abraham — he apparently visited New England, but left without a contract. (That’s not to intimate that the Patriots haven’t offered him something — it’s likely that both Freeney and Abraham are going to check out all their options thoroughly before they sign anywhere.) Freeney — once described by former Patriots left tackle Matt Light as the toughest competitor he ever faced — is an 11-year veteran who was taken in the first round by the Colts out of Syracuse in 2002. Over the course of his impressive career, the 33-year-old racked up 107.5 sacks, including 13.5 over the last two seasons with Indy.
Ed Reed: We made our feelings clear on a partnership between Reed and the Patriots here, but to this point, New England doesn’t appear to be on Reed’s radar screen. The newly-minted Super Bowl champ has spent much of the week flirting with the Texans, but while he spent some quality time in Houston the last several days, he remains without a contract. (Reportedly, the Ravens are preparing what some are calling a final offer to Reed that will be presented to him in the coming days.) Reed, who will turn 35 in September, figures to be in the final stages of a Hall of Fame career — the 5-foot-11, 205-pound Miami product has 61 picks over the course of his career, and will go down in history as one of the finest in the game at his position.
Antoine Winfield: The 35-year-old corner was cut loose by the Vikings earlier this month, and while there’s already been a lot of talk in the Twin Cities about his potential return, the 5-foot-9, 180-pounder reportedly has several visits lined up. It’s not known if New England is on his itinerary, but you have to wonder if the Patriots’ decision to re-sign Kyle Arrington as their slot corner took them out of play when it comes to Winfield. Winfield, who has played for both the Vikings and Bills, had a great season last year with Minnesota, finishing with 101 tackles (72 solo), 12 passes defensed and three picks.
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