Bye Bye JoJo and Scott Chandler! Good riddance losers!
For my first article, I wanted to begin with my favorite time of the year in the NFL season. For me, Free Agency is as thrilling as Blair Walsh shanking a 19 yarder to lose in the playoffs. There’s something energizing about Adam Schefter and his pudgy Twitter fingers, reporting the latest ounce of drama in the NFL world. Last year we had Frank Gore play for 3 teams, Andre Johnson try to create a super team, and Deandre Jordan cause a league-wide twitter fight (I know it’s the wrong sport). The big question here is, what are the top 5 free agents my New England Patriots should sign? Before I begin, I have some ground rules everyone should know.
#1. Do not talk about fight club.
#2. I’m only talking about signing new players, so you won’t read a thing in here about LaGarrette Blount.
#3. There is nothing about the NFL Draft in this post, that’ll come later.
#4. These are signings that legitimately could and should happen. Therefore, a lot of these signings aren’t huge and flashy. If you want to read “Lebron to LA?” or “Should the Patriots trade Tom Brady because he’s a cheater?” I highly recommend the watered down bullsh*t site, www.espn.com.
#5 Marques Colston
Good ‘ol Marques! One of the most underrated wideouts of his time, Colston has proved he can play well given a good QB. The past few years haven’t been too kind to the old man of 32, who posted his career-lowest year this past year with 520 yards. Although this doesn’t sound so great, Colston wouldn’t be the go-to #1 receiver for Brady. So the pressure is off him a little, making it easier to produce. Besides, it just feels like classic Patriots to sign a vet receiver in the hopes of squeezing out one more year of production.
#4 Zach Miller
Zach Miller is simply here because I still have pipe dreams of recreating the glorious double-TE set that brought us to the 2011 Super Bowl. That, and this guy balled out in the second half of last year with the incompetent “Cutlet” Jay Cutler. Miller set personal records for yardage with 439, and catches with 34. Now, he already did well as a backup TE behind Martellus Bennett, so imagine what he could do behind Gronkowski? Miller has youth and athleticism, which is a huge upgrade over Scott Chandler last year. Personally, I think we should surround Brady with as many options as possible. The dude is playing until he’s 45; let’s give him something to work with here. Miller is young, he’s cheap, and he’s a good option.
#3 Rishard Matthews
Once upon a time, a young and promising Dolphins wide receiver joined the rival New England Patriots and became one of the best in Patriot’s franchise history. Sound familiar? It should. Both Matthews and Welker posted 400-yard years followed by 600-yard years (Matthews had an injury-ridden year in between, only totaling 135 yards). Welker went on to sign with the Patriots, becoming an all-time great for the franchise in some of the best years in Patriot history. Now, could Matthews reach that potential? We won’t know until we sign him. In all seriousness, this guy is quick, and he can play the slot or go deep. He’s made a ton of progress with Tannehill under center, so playing for the Patriots could make him an all star. To me, this would be the biggest-impact and long-term player of the 5 I’m mentioning in this article.
#2 Will Blackmon
Willy Blackmon is the odd-man out in this article. Being the only defensive player mentioned, Blackmon is an NFL journeyman and 31-year-old veteran at cornerback. Truthfully, our defense is young and hungry. Our weakest link in the defense, as much as Malcom Butler and Logan Ryan played wonderfully last year, is the cornerback position. Is Will Blackmon a game-changer? No. If you want a game changer; Sean Smith, Janoris Jenkins, and Prince Amukamara command 15 million dollars per year: money the Patriots simply do not have. If you want some cornerback depth and veteran presence in the locker room, Willy Blackmon is your guy for a stellar 3 million dollars. Lastly, Blackmon is your answer at the slot position. While two cornerbacks (Ryan and Butler) guard guys deep, you need a man to cover the short-yardage passes. Blackmon’s coming off of a career year with the Redskins; he had 10 starts, 38 tackles and 2 interceptions. If Belicheck wants to go out and spend cash on a #1 cornerback, I’m cool with that. But I’m a grounded blogger, and I’m telling you this is the route Billy B is more likely to go when it comes to signing free agents.
#1 Mohamed Sanu
To me, Sanu is easily the biggest difference out of this lovely cast I’ve presented to you. I know what you’re thinking…
Why Sanu? He had his worst year as a starter. He drops balls. You suck at football analysis…
… Let me explain. This guy is a pure upgrade over JoJo “Drop-O” Lafell, and although he only had a less-than stellar 394 yards, I like to look at the year before. To be fair, the Bengals’ strength this past year was sharing the love with receivers, and nobody predicted the breakout performance of Eifert this past year. Let’s look at 2014: 790 yards, 5 touchdowns, and a nice 50-yard pass in the backfield. This is what I love about the guy. He already knows what it’s like in a wide receiver committee; why not join the best one in the league? Further, he was a QB in college, and thoughts of ‘Dola, Edelman, and Sanu all available for trick plays is a real big turn on for me. Billy B…make it happen. On a career low year last year, he won’t command much cash, it’s an upgrade over Lafell for less money, and Cincinatti has other priorities to re-sign. In other words: a no-brainer.