Four more free agent defensive end possibilities for Patriots
|03.25.13 at 9:22 pm ET|
With Elvis Dumervil signing with the Ravens, the market for available pass rushing defensive linemen continues to shrink. Here are four names who are still available as we head into the third full week of free agency:
Dwight Freeney: As of Monday evening, several insiders were linking Freeney to the Broncos for several reasons, not the least of which was his old teammate Peyton Manning was apparently assisting with the sales pitch to the former Colts defensive end. The Connecticut native has managed to maintain a high level of production over the last few seasons — in all, over the course of his 11-year career, the 33-year-old racked up 107.5 sacks, including 13.5 the last two seasons with Indy.
John Abraham: Both Abraham and Freeney have been linked to the Patriots on several occasions, and now, with Dumervil officially off the market, you have to figure their value has increased. With the talk Monday night that linked Freeney to the Broncos, the Patriots could have an opportunity to move on Abraham. The 34-year-old, who recently was cut loose by the Falcons after seven seasons in Atlanta, has spent a total of 13 seasons in the league, and the 6-foot-4, 263-pounder has at least 9.5 sacks in each of his last three seasons and 122 sacks over the course of his career.
Osi Umenyiora: The consensus around the league is not if Umenyiora signs with the Falcons, but when. Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff confirmed Monday the Falcons are in talks with the 31-year-old, who was released this past offseason by the Giants. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound defensive lineman has registered at least 13 sacks in three of the last seven seasons, and while he’s not at Dumervil’s level, if utilized properly, could still manage to be a good replacement for a Falcons team that’s looking to replace Abraham.
Israel Idonije: The 32-year-old defensive lineman has been in the league for nine seasons, and the 6-foot-7, 290-pounder has developed a pretty good rep as a situational pass rusher — he has 20.5 sacks over the last three seasons, including 7.5 last year, where he was used sparingly by the Bears. (According to PFF, he didn’t go wire-to-wire in a single game in 2012, but still managed to land a +10.7 grade as a pass rusher last season.) He’s played both defensive end and defensive tackle, and could come relatively cheaply.
(One more name to keep an eye on is Vaughn Martin. While he’s more of a run-stuffer than a pass-rusher, there was a report from Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports last week that linked the Patriots with Martin, which leads us to include him here. Martin, who landed in San Diego by way of the CFL, doesn’t have the most impressive stat line over the course of his first four seasons in the league, but has carved out a rep as an active defensive tackle who can occupy multiple blockers. A fourth-rounder in 2009, he’s appeared in 48 games with San Diego, and has 78 tackles and three sacks in his career. He had 19 tackles and one sack in 12 games last year.)
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