NFL Free Agency: Matt Roth and 5 Others for the New England Patriots to Consider
The New England Patriots have had a mighty fine free agency so far, and they haven't even signed any free agents!
By trading for Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco, though, the Patriots may have made two of the best moves in this incredibly fast-paced free agency period so far.
But who else could they add?
Matt Roth, the former Cleveland Browns outside linebacker, has been linked to the Patriots based purely on the fact that he would fill such a big need and that he is considered a Bill Belichick-type player. What that means I'm not sure, other than the fact that he is reliable and underrated.
The Patriots need help with the pass rush; this isn't exactly breaking news. Who else besides Roth can help, and do the Pats still need offensive reinforcements even with the addition of Ochocinco?
Read on to find the five free agents the New England Patriots should be pursuing.
5. Randy Moss
And how could it not be?
When healthy and motivated, Moss is one of the top receivers in the game today. When healthy, motivated and with Brady? He's a record breaker.
I know that the Patriots traded him after the fourth game of the season because his locker room behavior was despicable, and he was having a terrible affect on the team chemistry. But that was before he suffered miserably with the Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans.
That was before he had to endure catching passes from a washed-up Brett Favre and an even more washed-up Kerry Collins.
Then, once again, Moss realized and appreciated the unbelievable coaching and talent (Belichick and Brady) he had in New England. In a press conference with the Minnesota Vikings, Moss even went on a long rant talking about the Patriots, saying: "I miss them guys, man, I miss the team...I miss the hell out of them, every last helmet in that [Patriots] locker room...The New England Patriots have always been a special organization."
Moss went on and on, and it became clearer and clearer that he wanted one more shot.
The question has now become, do the Patriots want to take the risk?
I say yes. Chad Ochocinco, Randy Moss and Wes Welker.
Sounds like a championship to me!
4. Terrell Owens
I know I'm crazy, but again, doesn't this just make sense?
Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco joining forces once again (minus the atrocious TOcho Show), this time with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. It would be a hell of a lot of fun to watch.
And for all of the stunts these two have pulled over the years—and there have been quite a list of them—no one has ever doubted their work ethic or will to win. Ocho has played hard every snap for one of the worst franchises in NFL history.
Yeah, he ran his mouth, but who cares? He's an NFL receiver. These guys were born cocky.
I don't know if anyone remembers this, but in Super Bowl XXXIX between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots, Terrell Owens had a marvelous game playing with two shards of metal in his shin.
He is a gritty, determined and an extremely hard-to-bring-down wide receiver. His size would be a valuable asset, and after last season's inspired effort (there was a stretch where he scored seven touchdowns in just five games), I think we can agree that he and Ocho can play together.
This would be a stunning move, but it would also make the Patriots offense a lot better.
In baseball, you can never have too many good starting pitchers. Well, in football, you can never have too many good wide receivers. Just ask Peyton Manning.
3. Haruki Nakamura/Tom Zbikowski
Yes, that is a boxer pictured. His name is Tom Zbikowski, and he is retired now. During the NFL lockout, Zbikowski took his talents to the ring in the event of a cancelled season.
He obviously won a few bouts (see the arms raised), but immediately came back to football once the lockout ended.
He and Haruki Nakamura are the Baltimore Ravens' best in-house fits at replacing the recently departed safety Dawan Landry. Whichever one isn't re-signed by Baltimore should be heavily pursued by the New England Patriots.
The Ravens constantly produce high-level defensive talent (minus Adalius "bust" Thomas), and these players certainly had good role models thanks to Ed Reed and Ray Lewis.
The key here is that New England could lose Jarrad Page and Brandon McGowan, two safeties who have helped the team the last two seasons (Page last year, McGowan in '09) in its sub-packages. With their probable departures, New England will need that fourth safety spot filled behind Brandon Meriweather, Patrick Chung and James Sanders.
A fourth safety might not seem so important, but when an injury occurs, or when the Pats are facing an explosive offense, this spot could be a strength for New England instead of a concern.
I think Nakamura would be less expensive, and I like his potential as a less talented Jim Leonhard-type.
He's not the most exciting choice, but I think Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco have filled the excitement tank for Bill Belichick this summer. Now, the Pats must focus on needs.
2. Antwan Odom
With the release of expected starting defensive end Ty Warren, the New England Patriots will be looking for a cheap, experienced option.
Luckily for the Pats, the Cincinnati Bengals have just released Antwan Odom.
Odom would be yet another reclamation project for the ever-forgiving Bill Belichick (wink, wink). He had a phenomenal year in 2009 that was cut short by an Achilles injury and barely played in four games in 2010.
Still, he is only 30 years old, and he must have something left in the tank. And that's not including the internal power of trying to prove everybody wrong. Never underestimate a player's determination.
The Patriots could sign him to a one-year deal, like they did with Randy Moss back in 2007. If he plays well, he makes bank next offseason. If he doesn't? Well then he was a great bridge-year player so that guys like Jermaine Cunningham, Eric Moore, Rob Ninkovich, Ron Brace and Myron Pryor can develop into legitimate starters.
Mike Wright is already in the mix for the spot opposite Albert Haynesworth, and Odom would give him both good competition and would be a nice backup.
Again, this would not be a headline-news type acquisition, but Odom could fill what is now a pretty pressing need on the defensive line.
1. Matt Roth
Matt Roth is the most perfect fit for the New England Patriots this offseason.
He fills the biggest need (the pass rush), is not going to cost a fortune and plays the 3-4 defense to perfection.
Check. Check. Check.
Bill Belichick would love coaching this bulldog, and adding him would give the genius a lot more leverage in the blitzing game. Recently, Belichick's blitzes have been very risky, sometimes sending as many as eight or nine guys. That's what happens when you have trouble sacking the quarterback.
Belichick can now go back to what he likes to do best: Let the front four generate pressure and confuse the hell out of the quarterback with your back seven.
Roth may cost a little more than the other guys on this list, but his presence in New England would strengthen one of the only remaining weaknesses on this suddenly super-loaded Patriots team: the pass rush.
After many members of New England's coaching staff bailed to Cleveland after being successful with the Patriots, wouldn't it be ironic if signing a player from the Cleveland Browns is the reason this team wins its fourth championship?
What do you think? Agree or disagree, leave a comment in the section below.
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