NFL Free Agency: Matt Roth May Be Best Suited as a New England Patriot

Tony SantorsaSenior Writer IIJuly 1, 2011

CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 03:  Matt Roth #53 of the Cleveland Browns sacks quarterback Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 3, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Many will consider the New England Patriots' biggest need is outside linebacker—and that is one area of concern that Bill Belichick and New England's draft team decided not to address during this year's draft.

In a draft that was filled with perfect 3-4 outside linebackers, New England declined to select any of them—which indicates that Belichick has major faith in players such as Jermaine Cunningham and Rob Ninkovich. 

However, despite Belichick's high hopes, New England still needs to add another body to their outside linebacker corps, and Matt Roth may be the best fit. 

Roth, who will be turning 29 in October, has spent time with the Miami Dolphins and the Cleveland Browns, which are both 3-4 defensive teams, like the Patriots. 

Roth had a career year in 2010, as he tallied up 86 tackles for the Browns along with a solid four sacks in 16 games. 

You figure that Roth may be the best option for New England, as he's not only had experience in the 3-4 defensive alignment, but he was coached by former New England defensive coordinator Eric Mangini. 

The major obstacle that each team must consider is the lack of mini-camp, which will certainly effect the way teams operate in free agency, as we saw during this past draft. So rather that signing a player that has a great deal of talent, but only played in the 4-3, which would label him a "project," it's best to target someone like Roth.

Roth would certainly not be projected to be a difference-maker for New England, but he's just another body to throw into New England's thin outside linebacker corp.

Potentially, Roth would join Cunningham, Ninkovich and Tully Banta-Cain, creating a rather deep outside linebacker corp—but certainly not one of the best.

On an interesting note, Michael Lombardi of NFL Network speculates that "his size, toughness and power would fit in perfectly with the Patriots."

As the NFL lockout is believed to be coming to an end soon, the start of free agency will begin, and Roth is likely to be on New England's list of potential players to target.


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