|Notes on Sebastian Vollmer, Julian Edelman and how the Leon Washington signing might affect Jeff Demps||03.18.13 at 1:41 pm ET|
Three midday notes on the Patriots and free agency:
With tackle Jake Long finally secured by the Rams, this should start a series of signings among the rest of the league’s elite free agent offensive linemen, including Sebastian Vollmer. Vollmer, who is probably the Patriots best remaining free agent, will be able to measure himself against the contracts signed by Long (a four-year deal that could be worth up to $36 million, with $16 million guaranteed at signing) and Jermon Bushrod (a five-year deal that could be worth upwards of $35.9 million, with $17.7 million guaranteed). Two things about Vollmer and his situation: One, given his injury history, he’ll probably get a little less than either one of those two tackles. (At the very least, the Patriots will build in playtime incentives to try and make sure he’s on the field as often as possible.) And two, you have to figure that the Dolphins are now very interested in Vollmer, considering that they lost out to the Rams for Long’s services. Miami still has money to spend under the cap, and would also love the opportunity to weaken a divisional rival.
After Vollmer, Julian Edelman could be next priority for the Patriots, at least when it comes to retaining their own free agents. You have to figure that Edelman’s value to the Patriots increased slightly in the wake of Wes Welker‘s departure, but at the same time, I can’t imagine New England would break the bank for Edelman. (Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports Tweeted Monday afternoon: Would not rule out a return by WR Julian Edelman to Pats. NE still searching for receivers. Market getting thin.) A tough player who has added value on special teams, he could definitely see an uptick in playing time in the wake of Welker’s departure — we all remember how he suddenly got a boost at the start of the 2012 season. Edelman has struggled with injury over the last two seasons, but if he can stay healthy, he figures to be a good fit in New England in 2013, even with the addition of Danny Amendola.
One guy who has kind of gotten lost in all the hubbub this past week is Jeff Demps — specifically, what the signing of Leon Washington means for the former Olympic track star. Despite the fact that he’s said he wants to try his hand at both track and football, the Patriots likely aren’t all that enthused about the idea of him returning to the track later this month. The franchise has a year invested in him — he signed in late August — and the fact that they stashed him on injured reserve last season with a (ahem) leg injury instead of cutting him loose speaks to just how much they think of his abilities and what he could bring down the road. (That and the three-year, $1.451 million contract he signed with the Patriots last August.) However, the addition of Washington could provide New England with some insurance in case they decide to part ways with Demps. A storyline worth following as we get closer to spring workouts.
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