Should the New England Patriots Target Marshawn Lynch?

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer IApril 18, 2010

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 20: Marshawn Lynch #23 of the Buffalo Bills runs the ball against the New England Patriots during the game at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 20, 2009 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

When a stock begins to lose money, a shareholder's first instinct is to sell before it loses more. The buyer assumes the risk that even though the stock is losing value, the investment is worthwhile and won't be detrimental.

Marshawn Lynch has been somewhat of a PR disaster in Buffalo. With one run-in with the law after another, the Bills seem to be fed up with the former first-round pick.

They Bills are ready to cut their losses, but with no potential suitors knocking at the door, Lynch's off-field antics and history of injuries seem to have depreciated his value a bit. Furthermore, Lynch was put into a rotation with the much older Fred Jackson when "Beast Mode" proved ineffective after his return from suspension last year.

Could the Bills' division rivals, the New England Patriots, be a potential landing spot for Lynch?

Amid an extremely quiet offseason, the Patriots still need a running back, and many suspect they'll grab one in the second round of the draft. They certainly need youth at the position, and Lynch is only 23 years old.

They have three second-round picks, one of which could be trade bait for any team who gets anxious to draft a player they're in love with. The Bills have been known to make hasty draft-day decisions before, and could do something similar this year.

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He fits the Patriots' offense, as a versatile back who excels between the tackles. He is also effective in pass protection and in the screen game. He racked up 300 yards on 47 receptions in 2008, in which he played 15 games. He'd be yet another safety valve for Tom Brady out of the backfield.

Lynch has missed some time due to suspension and injury. It's difficult to give up a second-round pick for a player with so many off-field issues and injury concerns, though, because there's no guarantee that he'll play the full 16 games of the season.

A third-rounder might be a more suitable price, but the Patriots don't own a pick in the third round this year.

They love nabbing players from their division rivals (i.e. Wes Welker and Sammy Morris), and they haven't had a problem with players that have character issues (i.e. Corey Dillon and Randy Moss).

The Patriots have far too many pressing concerns on the defensive side of the ball to give up a second-round pick for a player with character issues dating all the way back to college.

In a locker room that drew questions of character issues all last season, adding another questionable character hardly seems like the solution to that issue. The culture isn't in place to bring him on board with "the Patriots way" as it was when Randy Moss and Corey Dillon donned the Patriots uniforms for the first time.

The only way the Patriots should pull the trigger on a deal is if they can get Lynch at a bargain-basement price a la Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn, Jr. of the past week. There are too many question marks to make it worth the high-risk high-reward investment otherwise.