5 Defensive Free Agents the New England Patriots Would Be Crazy to Pass on

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5 Defensive Free Agents the New England Patriots Would Be Crazy to Pass on
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Who could make a big splash in New England via free agency?

This offseason, the New England Patriots will look to upgrade their 31st ranked defense of 2011.

The question is, will this defensive unit be fixed through free agency or through the draft? Established players like Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo have done all they can to force three-and-outs. But will a few additions be enough to make the Patriots' defense a threat to NFL offenses?

The positions in need of a boost are defensive end, outside linebacker, safety and cornerback. If the Pats want to return to the Super Bowl in February of 2013, defense must become priority No. 1. 

The only certainty at this point is the salary cap number—the Pats currently have $16.2 million open in cap space for next season.

With that extra cash, director of player personnel Nick Caserio and head coach Bill Belichick can entertain the idea of adding some special talent on D.

If New England decides to go on a shopping spree, here are five players the team should take a chance on.

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