It Is What It Is
NEED TO KNOW
Follow WEEI.com football writer Christopher Price at twitter.com/cpriceNFL. In addition, get the latest WEEI.com updates at twitter.com/WEEI.
A WEEI.com Patriots Blog Mohegan Sun
WEEI.com Blog Network
Posts related to ‘Dane Fletcher’
Resetting list of Patriots and their own free agents 04.09.14 at 1:04 pm ET
By   |  No Comments
Will Svitek

Will Svitek

With Matthew Mulligan agreeing to a deal with the Bears on Tuesday, here’s an updated look at the Patriots 2014 free agent class. If you’re scoring at home, of its 12 free agents, New England has retained four and lost five, while three remain on the market.

Long snapper Danny Aiken: Signed a one-year deal to return to New England.
Running back LeGarrette Blount: Signed a two-year deal with Pittsburgh.
Defensive end Andre Carter: Free agent, but has expressed an interest in returning.
Wide receiver Austin Collie: Free agent.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman: Signed a four-year contract to return to New England.
Linebacker Dane Fletcher: Signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay.
Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui: Signed a two-year deal to return to New England.
Tight end Matthew Mulligan: Singed a one-year deal with Chicago.
Linebacker Brandon Spikes: Signed a one-year deal with Buffalo.
Offensive lineman Will Svitek: Free agent.
Cornerback Aqib Talib: Signed a six-year deal with Denver.
Center Ryan Wendell: Signed a two-year deal to return to New England.

Read More: 2014 nfl free agency, Andre Carter, Aqib Talib, austin collie
At this point in offseason, where are Patriots personnel priorities? 04.04.14 at 9:55 pm ET
By   |  7 Comments
Will Smith remains a free agent possibility for the Patriots. (AP)

Will Smith remains a free agent possibility for the Patriots. (AP)

With the offseason now one-third of the way done — and most of free agency now complete — the Patriots still have to address a few specific areas of need as part of the team-building process. Here’s a look at four personnel questions that have to be dealt with between now and the start of training camp.

Backup linebacker: Brandon Spikes and Dane Fletcher departed as free agents this offseason, with Spikes heading to Buffalo and Fletcher signing with Tampa Bay. Neither were starters, but over the last two seasons, both were called upon to play significant snaps for the Patriots. As a result, New England is a little thin when it comes to their linebacker depth. Currently on the roster, the Patriots have a few possibilities when it comes to backing up the expected starting trio of Jerod Mayo, Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins, including Steve Beauharnais, who just finished his rookie season. But their pursuit of veteran free agent Wesley Woodyard was likely a sign they believe they need more help when it comes to depth at the spot.

Strong safety: Steve Gregory was cut loose earlier this offseason, and Adrian Wilson was released on Friday. And while the Patriots did bring back Patrick Chung on Thursday, there’s some uncertainty as to what New England plans on doing at the position. Two things to remember: one, the Patriots like their defensive backs to be versatile, and so shuffling DBs from one spot to another wouldn’t be a surprise. And two, on that same vein, there are some possibilities on the roster, including Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan, the latter of whom has been the subject of much speculation this offseason when it comes to a possible move to free safety. In addition, there’s Tavon Wilson, who slid down the depth chart in 2013 to more of a special teams role, one that’s also occupied by fellow safeties Kanorris Davis and Nate Ebner. (And there’s always the possibility that Gregory could return on a reworked deal — he said this week despite the fact that he was cut by New England, “it would definitely be a place I would love to go back to.”) Regardless of whether or not New England decides to address the position in the draft, right now, it’s shaping up to be one of the more intriguing camp battles this spring and summer.

Situational pass rusher: The Patriots were believed to be at least partially in the mix for Jared Allen in free agency before he signed with the Bears, and while New England does currently have youngsters Jake Bequette and Michael Buchanan on the roster as backup defensive ends, it’s a fair dropoff at this point from the starting duo of Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich. In terms of free agents who could still be on the market, Will Smith remains a possibility, but his recent injury woes leave him questionable at this stage of his career. When it comes to other in-house possibilities, Andre Carter could return for at least part of the season if New England struggles to find help — he sure sounds open to the possibility of returning. In addition, Armond Armstead could also be in the mix as an interior pass rushing presence at some point if he ever does get healthy. It’s also expected that if veteran Tommy Kelly can stay on the field, he’ll offer some support as another interior pass rushing presence in 2014.

Depth at tight end and running back: While New England appears to be set when it comes to starters at the two positions, it could really use some depth at both spots, and both will likely be addressed in some form or fashion come the second and/or third day of the draft. Despite the fact the Patriots might be more inclined to move away from the two-tight end sets they ran over the last few seasons, another tight end to compliment Rob Gronkowski could be had in this draft, especially given the fact that this year appears to be a pretty good one for tight ends. In addition, the fact that the Patriots made a serious play for veteran free agent running back Maurice Jones-Drew could be taken as a sign they feel like they need someone to replace LeGarrette Blount in the backfield.

Read More: Adrian Wilson, Andre Carter, Armond Armstead, Brandon Spikes
Resetting latest on Patriots and their own free agents 03.20.14 at 3:53 pm ET
By   |  No Comments
LeGarrette Blount

LeGarrette Blount

Just over one week into free agency, here’s a status update on each of New England’s free agents:

Long snapper Danny Aiken: Signed a one-year deal to return to New England.
Running back LeGarrette Blount: No updates.
Defensive end Andre Carter: Carter has left the door open for a possible return — he expanded on his feelings in a recent interview with ESPN — but he remains in limbo, at least at this point.
Wide receiver Austin Collie: No updates.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman: Signed a four-year deal to return to New England.
Linebacker Dane Fletcher: Signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay.
Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui: Signed a two-year deal to return to New England.
Tight end Matthew Mulligan: No updates at this time, but a league source has expressed to WEEI.com some optimism the Maine product could return to the Patriots in 2014.
Linebacker Brandon Spikes: Signed a one-year deal with Buffalo.
Offensive lineman Will Svitek: No updates, but like Mulligan, league sources expressed a belief that the Patriots would welcome him back at a fair market rate.
Cornerback Aqib Talib: Signed a six-year deal with Denver.
Center Ryan Wendell: No updates.

Read More: 2014 nfl free agency, Andre Carter, Aqib Talib, austin collie
4 thoughts on Patriots, free agency, who’s still out there at WR 03.17.14 at 6:30 am ET
By   |  18 Comments
Dane Fletcher is off to Tampa Bay. Do the Patriots need to build more depth at inside linebacker? (AP)

Dane Fletcher is off to Tampa Bay. With the loss of Fletcher and Brandon Spikes, do the Patriots need to build more depth at inside linebacker? (AP)

1. Dane Fletcher signed with Tampa Bay on Sunday, the second inside/middle linebacker the Patriots have lost to this point in free agency. (Brandon Spikes went to Buffalo earlier.)

Fletcher isn’t a tremendous loss — he was a backup who provided defensive depth at the position, as well as some special teams value. (His shining moment in 2013 likely came in the regular-season win over the Broncos, when he stepped in for a struggling Dont’a Hightower and played significant snaps down the stretch and into overtime.) But from a personnel standpoint, that means a new generation of linebackers likely will be given the chance to step into the void, a group that includes Steve Beauharnais.

Even with a few guys capable of stepping into that spot, there’s the likelihood that New England tries to go out and acquire one more linebacker/special teamer, either in the draft or free agency. The Patriots tried to go after former Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard, but he ended up signing with the Titans.

From this viewpoint, South Dakota linebacker Tyler Starr could be a late-round possibility in the draft. (For more on why he might be a fit with the Patriots, check out our story here.)

It’s not a colossal priority at this point, but it’s a personnel question that needs to be addressed between now and the start of offseason workouts.

2. The last few seasons, the Patriots have made a habit of adding veteran free agent wide receivers in free agency — not household names, but relatively anonymous guys who might be a fit in Foxboro. Last year, that group included LaVelle Hawkins, Michael Jenkins and Donald Jones, none of them ultimately worked out.

And so, on the surface, there might be inclination to link them to Brandon LaFell — who was acquired Saturday as a free agent — to last year’s group. But taking a look at LaFell’s work, he might be a step up from that group. LaFell has some positional versatility, having worked on the inside, in the slot and split wide, and his versatility, combined with his surprising size (6-foot-2, 210 pounds), likely puts him a step ahead of veteran wide receivers acquired in year’s past.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Aaron Dobson, Brandon LaFell, Brandon Spikes, Dane Fletcher
Linebacker Dane Fletcher signs with Bucs 03.16.14 at 4:11 pm ET
By   |  3 Comments

The Buccaneers announced Sunday they had agreed to terms with free agent linebacker Dane Fletcher.

The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Fletcher is an undrafted free agent who was picked up out of Montana State in 2010, and has spent three seasons with the Patriots as a backup linebacker and special teamer. (He sat out the entire 2012 season because of a knee injury he suffered in the preseason.) His best season came in 2011 when he finished with 32 tackles in 10 games, five of them starts.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

 

Read More: 2014 nfl free agency, Dane Fletcher,
Resetting latest on Patriots and their own free agents 03.14.14 at 12:33 pm ET
By   |  1 Comment

Almost 72 hours into free agency, here’s the latest on what’s up with the Patriots’ own free agent class.

Long snapper Danny Aiken: Signed a one-year deal to return to New England.
Running back LeGarrette Blount: No updates.
Defensive end Andre Carter: Carter has left the door open for a possible return ‘€” he expanded on his feelings in a recent interview with ESPN.
Wide receiver Austin Collie: No updates.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman: The slot receiver, who reportedly left a three-year deal on the table in New England, is facing a fluid market for his services, as it’s clear his future could be tied to Steve Smith. (We explored that here.) He’s visiting with the Niners on Friday — it could be an enticing spot for the California native.
Linebacker Dane Fletcher: Reportedly took a free agent visit to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui: Signed a two-year deal to return to New England.
Tight end Matthew Mulligan: No updates at this time, but a league source has expressed to WEEI.com some optimism the Maine product could return to the Patriots in 2014.
Linebacker Brandon Spikes: Spikes is visiting with the Bills, a natural landing spot — he’s tight with former positional coach Pepper Johnson, and Johnson left New England for Buffalo earlier this offseason.
Offensive lineman Will Svitek: No updates, but like Mulligan, league sources expressed a belief that the Patriots would welcome him back at a fair market rate.
Cornerback Aqib Talib: Talib signed a six-year, $57 million deal with $26 million guaranteed with the Broncos.
Center Ryan Wendell: No updates, but the Patriots have kicked the tires on veteran Phil Costa, who ended up signing with the Colts. As is the case at other positions, both sides could be looking to read the market before making a move.

Read More: 2014 nfl free agency, Andre Carter, Aqib Talib, austin collie
Resetting latest on Patriots and their own free agents 03.12.14 at 10:44 am ET
By   |  2 Comments

After nearly 24 hours of free agency, here’s a look at the Patriots and the latest involving their own free agents:

Long snapper Danny Aiken: Signed a one-year deal to return to New England.
Running back LeGarrette Blount: No updates.
Defensive end Andre Carter: Carter has left the door open for a possible return — he expanded on his feelings in a recent interview with ESPN.
Wide receiver Austin Collie: No updates.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman: The slot receiver couldn’t reach an accord with the team on a reported three-year deal, and he’ll test the market. One report says he has a visit set up with the Ravens.
Linebacker Dane Fletcher: Reportedly took a free agent visit to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui: Signed a two-year deal to return to New England.
Tight end Matthew Mulligan: No updates at this time, but a league source has expressed to WEEI.com some optimism the Maine product could return to the Patriots in 2014.
Linebacker Brandon Spikes: Spikes tweeted what was fundamentally a farewell note to New England on Tuesday. It’s expected he’ll draw interest as a free agent from several teams, including the Bills and Texans.
Offensive lineman Will Svitek: No updates, but like Mulligan, league sources expressed a belief that the Patriots would welcome him back at a fair market rate.
Cornerback Aqib Talib: Late Tuesday night, Talib and the Broncos reportedly agreed on a six-year, $57 million deal that includes $26 million in guaranteed money.
Center Ryan Wendell: No updates. However, it was interesting to see the news that the Patriots hosted veteran center Phil Costa on a free agent visit.

Read More: 2014 nfl free agency, Andre Carter, Aqib Talib, austin collie
Latest on Twitter

2014 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS

2014 NFL DRAFT

Patriots Headlines
NFL Headlines
Tips & Feedback

Verify