Not Done Yet: New England Patriots Still Looking For Defensive Help

Ryan WinnAnalyst IAugust 10, 2009

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 10:  Defensive end Kevin Carter #93  of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches play from the sideline during a preseason game against the New England Patriots at Raymond James Stadium on August 10, 2007 in Tampa, Florida. The Bucs won 13 - 10. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Apparently the Super Bowl-favorite New England Patriots are not done shopping yet.

According to Michael Lombardi of, the Patriots have about an 80 percent chance of landing veteran defensive end Kevin Carter. Also according to the Patriots have also had a meeting with another veteran defensive end: Vonnie Holliday.

This news comes within days of their trade for former Oakland Raiders linebacker/defensive end Derrick Burgess and within the same offseason as their massive overhaul of the secondary.

Carter, most recently a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is a two-time Pro Bowler with 104.5 career sacks, although the most sacks he has had in a season within the past five years is six, back in 2005.

Holliday, a former Miami Dolphin, has 55 career sacks with three and a half of those coming last year for the AFC East champions.

With the rumor mill spinning, two predominant questions come to the forefront—which player should the Patriots sign and what would a signing of either one mean to the team?

When head coach Bill Belichick was asked why the team traded for wide receiver Greg Lewis, his simple answer was, "He kicked our butts every time we played him."

With that philosophy, it would be reasonable to expect Holliday to be New England's main target. Facing him twice a year since 2005, Belichick watched Holliday garner eighteen tackles and half a sack against his team.

However, when Carter played with Holliday on the Dolphins in 2005 and 2006, Carter sacked Brady twice and had a total of 15 tackles in four games against the Patriots.

If stats and Belichick don't lie then expect to see Carter suit up as a reserve defensive end this season.

Regardless of who signs with the Patriots, a roster shakeup could be in order. With Burgess, the addition of another defensive end puts the team at an overload in the position.

Returning linemen Richard Seymour, Ty Warren, Vince Wilfork, Mike Wright, and Jarvis Green join three rookies in camp this year, and Pierre Woods and Tully Banta-Cain have been seen playing hands-down in camp.

If signed, the new player will add a new wrinkle in the Patriots' preseason. The rookies will have a rougher hill to climb to make the roster, returning players with have something to prove, and the depth on the defensive line will allow Belichick to come up with new ways to use his improved linebacker and defensive back corps.

If the Patriots make another move to improve the defense, thought to be the only weakness, albeit a strong weakness, on the 2009 squad, they could be doing their next shopping trip at a jeweler.