Free Agent Primer: Defensive line


Free Agent Primer: Defensive line

By Tom E. Curran

This is the fifth in a series of looks at the Patriots' position-by-position needs after the draft, and who's available to fill them via free agency . . . whenever free agency might come. Today's position: Defensive line.

Who's here?
Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Marcus Stroud, Mike Wright, Ron Brace, Myron Pryor, Kyle Love, Brandon Deaderick, Landon Cohen, Kade Weston, Darryl Richard, Marlon Favorite.
Who's out there?
Cullen Jenkins (Packers), Stephen Bowen (Cowboys), Shaun Smith (Chiefs), Justin Bannan (Broncos), Kenyon Coleman (Browns), Jacques Cesaire (Chargers), Gerard Warren (Patriots), Shaun Ellis (Jets). What's the need?
From 1-10? Let's call it a5. The Patriots have an abundance of heft along their defensive line with Brace (330 pounds) Wilfork (350-plus), Cohen (305), Deaderick (300), Favorite (317), Pryor (310), Richard (295), Stroud (310), Weston (316), Wright (295)and Ty Warren (305). The rotation is deep and young. There are veterans and young guys. There are guys who generate pressure (Wright had 5.5 sacks, Pryor has a knack as well, it seems). Overall, it's a pretty solid group. I think Gerard Warren was really outstanding for them last year, but his contract expired and Marcus Stroud was brought aboard. I thought that was a dubious acquisition but was redirected by opposing GMs who assured me that Stroud can still play and is very professional. A good pickup. So what I'm getting at is, unless they unearth the new Seymour - a 6-6,, 310-pound chiseled guy who can anchor with ease, command double-teams and chase all over the field - the Patriots will only be duplicating what they have on their roster with most of the guys on the market.Who do they chase?
Gerard Warren will still be out there when free agency opens. He'd be a good get. Other than that, the 3-4, 5-technique ends would be the places the Patriots would seek. Coleman. Bannan, released by Denver as the Broncos switch to a 4-3. That ilk makes sense. Who do we look at next?
Outside linebackers.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven


Patriots cut ties with Cassius Marsh, sign Eric Lee to help front-seven

Cassius Marsh was brought to New England to help a depleted defensive end group and play in the kicking game. The Patriots wanted him badly enough that they parted with two draft picks -- a fifth and a seventh -- to acquire him in a trade with the Seahawks just before the start of the season. 

Less than three months later, they've decided to part ways with the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder. 

Marsh played in nine games for the Patriots this season, providing the team with an edge defender and someone with special-teams experience. He blocked a kick in Week 7 against the Falcons that earned him an enthusiastic attaboy from coach Bill Belichick. 

Coming off the edge, Marsh recorded one sack and 13 hurries. Against the run, he was used more sparingly, and he was one of the Patriots on the scene for Marshawn Lynch's 25-yard run in the second quarter on Sunday. He played in just two snaps in Mexico City after missing the previous week's game in Denver due to a shoulder injury. 

Without Marsh the Patriots remain thin at defensive end. In order to help bolster that spot, the corresponding move the Patriots made to fill the open spot on their 53-man roster was to sign defensive lineman Eric Lee off of the Bills practice squad. 

Lee entered the league with the Texans last season as an undrafted rookie out of South Florida. Listed at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, Lee has bounced on and off of the Bills practice squad this season since being released by the Texans before this season.

The Patriots got a good look at Lee during joint practices last summer with the Texans at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. In the preseason game with the Texans that week, Lee played 40 snaps and according to Pro Football Focus he had two quarterback hurries. The Patriots have a history of snagging players they've practiced against, and with Lee, that trend continues

Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment


Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment

Bill Belichick sounded less than enthused about traveling to Mexico to play a game. And his line about being "fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there," didn't exactly sit well with some folks south of the border.


“Personally, I wouldn’t be in any big rush to do it again,” Belichick said on his weekly appearance on WEEI's "Dale and Holley with Keefe" show Monday. “Players did a great job dealing with all the challenges that we had to deal with. I think we’re fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there. I mean you have two NFL franchises in an area that I don’t know how stable the geological plates that were below us [were], but nothing happened so that was good.”

Pancho Vera of ESPN Mexico took exception to Belichick's comment on Twitter, which, translated, called out the "ignorance of the genius of the NFL." More than 200 people were killed after a quake centered near Mexico City struck in September. 

Other Twitter users said, using Belichick's reasoning, they wondered if they'd be fortunate not to be killed or wounded in a mass shooting if they were to travel to the US:

Translated, the tweets read "I also have luck in Las Vegas I was not in a shooting" and "But you are right, I apply the same when I go to the U.S. and say I was fortunate I was not in some crazy shootout."