Should the Patriots Re-Sign Key Free Agents?

Patrick Chung Patriots Safety

Is Patrick Chung a part of the Patriots future plans? (Photo: US Presswire)

NEPD Staff Writer: Joon Lee

We haven’t reached Wild Card weekend in the playoffs yet, but it’s that time of year where we begin to look forward to the offseason. The Patriots aren’t a team that generally spends a lot of money in the offseason outside of signings like Adalius Thomas.

The Patriots do have notable players entering free agency, wide receivers Wes Welker and Julian Edelman, offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer, cornerback Aqib Talib, running back Danny Woodhead and safety Patrick Chung. Should they be re-signed?

For me, the number one priority for the Patriots should be resigning Welker and Vollmer. Welker has proven that he is still an integral part of the offense after Julian Edelman jumped ahead of him on the depth chart at the beginning of the season.

Edelman has performed relatively well this season, but has dealt with a plethora of injuries. Welker, other than his ACL tear, has been extremely durable despite taking hit after hit over the middle of the field. Tom Brady has come to depend on Welker as the tone setter in the offensive scheme, and despite comparisons to Edelman and St. Louis Rams wide receiver Danny Amendola, nobody can replicate Welker’s production.

Sebastian Vollmer proved this year that he is one of the best tackles in the NFL. The combination of Vollmer and Solder is one of the best tackle duos in the league and has kept Brady off his back for the majority of the season. Vollmer is likely going to demand a significant contract and unless the Patriots view Marcus Cannon or a prospect in college as a good replacement from Vollmer, expect the Patriots to work hard to keep the 4-year veteran.

Talib is an interesting case. In my eyes, Talib has changed the dynamic of the defense. By moving McCourty to safety, Dennard into a starting position and Arrington into the slot, Talib has moved the personnel of the secondary into a position of strength. Arrington is an exponentially better slot cornerback and Dennard has proven to be a steal as a late-round pick. McCourty and Gregory have been a very good tag-team. There are other options on the free-agent market for the cornerback position in the Falcons’ Brett Grimes, Lions’ Chris Houston, Bills’ Leodis McKelvin, who is a return specialist, and Eagles’ Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Running back Danny Woodhead has long been one of the most underrated players on the Patriots offense. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Woodhead has done a splendid job of replacing Kevin Faulk since joining the Patriots in the 2010 season. Woodhead has been a crucial part to the success of the offense as a change of pace back and a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield. Woodhead, likely a system back, will demand a two or three year deal fro the Patriots and is likely to return.

The Patriots could also look to the NFL Draft for cornerback help, but Belichick has not had success drafting cornerbacks as of late (Terrence Wheatley, Ras-I Dowling, Darius Butler among others).

As for Patrick Chung, let him walk. Chung has been atrocious this year and has performed terribly in a contract season. Chung has shown strong potential at the safety position, but has seemingly regressed this season. Chung has been hampered by injuries and has seen reduced time with McCourty moving to safety, Gregory returning from injury and rookie Tavon Wilson showing growth throughout the season.

What do you think the Patriots should do with the four big free-agents? Discuss.

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20 Responses to “Should the Patriots Re-Sign Key Free Agents?”

  1. Jim Keddy says:

    My list in the order to re-sign would be as follows:
    Welker, Vollmer, Talib, Woodhead, Arrington, and Edelman.

    Letting Welker go would be a terrible mistake. He has the
    ability to get open when the others cannot. There is no way
    the Patriots could make up for Welker’s 100 receptions per year.

  2. Russell Easterbrooks says:

    Pats will offer Welker a two year deal and I think he wants to stay in New England. Chung is gone, look for the Pats to draft , S/CB D.J. Swearinger 3d round. Woodhead will get a 3 year deal, and Vareen is cut. Vollmer will take a 3 year deal, but Pats add more depth, and draft Reid Fragel OT 7 round. Canon is better at OG. the Pats will trade back in the draft, sending thier 1st pick to a mid-round team Dallas? for a 2nd, 4th, and 7th picks. Edelman and Talib will stay IF contract is not to high.

  3. munchkin says:

    As much as I hate to see it happen Welker will likely be gone if he doesn’t relax his contract demands. The team has paid a lot of money out to Gronk and Hernandez who both have been walking wounded since the end of last season; that is of course if we are to believe Hernandez’s production has fallen off because he isn’t quite healthy. Welker is certainly a security blanket and has earned his 9 million dollars this year. That can’t be denied. I don’t think the team will handicap themselves against the cap with what they believe to be an unreasonable contract. Whether they win or lose the SB this year I think Wes is a goner if he expects top dollar.
    Edelman will be realtively inexpensive to bring back. Yes he has been injury prone but McDaniels and Belichick have already shown that they love the kid. He will stay.
    They should extend Woodhead keeping their current core of Ridley, Vereen, Bolden and Woodhead in the backfield. All these guys are young and still developing.
    Vollmer certainly stays if the price is right and their isn’t something going on medically to keep him off the roster.Maybe even at a higher cost than we might expect.
    If Talib plays well and the team wins the SB his cost could go up drastically. Trust will be a big issue. Chemistry means a lot to the team as we all know. Given the issues they have had grooming CB’s retaining a competent, younger CB could be their toughest off-season decision.
    Yeah, Chung is gone.

  4. Freemanator says:

    It would be great to bring alll back except Chung. But it all depends on the finances. In order of prirotiy, this is what I’d like to happen.

    Hopefully given Vollmer’s Back issues, the market will be soft for him, and we can bring him back for good money, but not extortionate money.
    Hopefully Talib’s troubles also keep his price down.
    I wouldn’t franchise Welker, but tell him you’d like to keep him and let him hit the open market, find out what others will pay him, and then negotiate from there. With his age, and potentially worries about being a system player, not sure how strong the market will be. Wonder if Tommy B, would be prepared to give up a mil or 2, to help keep his favourite receiver?
    If Welker isn’t bought back, then Edelman definately should be, as he has been in the system for years, and so knows the scheme, and is most likely to be able to cover Welker’s role from the off, even if he won’t be able to manage the production. Hopefully his injury history and lack of big time production keep his costs down.
    Chung, only bring back on veteran minimum prove it deal, as mainly a camp body.

  5. Nick says:

    Let Welker go and get Tavon Austin. I like Welker, but they really cannot pay him. They need to get younger anyway, and Austin is more explosive. He can play inside receiver, outside receiver, running back. He is also a great kick returner. Saves cap space to resign guys like Talib, Vollmer. Probably can also keep edelman for cheaper price. Use a second round pick on a solid DE and hope Jones develops. I love Welker but if he wants three years at 8-9 million a year, they will not do it.

    • cp says:

      Franchise Welker, resign Vollmer, Talib, Woodhead and says goodbye to Edelman and Chung, neither can stay on the field and aren’t deserving of a new deal.

      • Nick says:

        I agree, franchising Welker could work out, but I think it is time for them to move on. Love Wes, but he is going to price himself out. As for Edelman, I know he can’t stay on the field, but he should come cheap as hell. Draft Tavon Austin, who I think is more talented then Welker in terms of his all around game. He is a more explosive reciver, a more explosive kick returner, he can play running back, he is a bit bigger, he is a lot younger, and he is cheaper. Use the money you didn’t spend on Welker to keep Talib and/or Vollmer.

  6. bill ollar says:

    sign them all depending on cost Chung would be good depth But he shouldnt get starters money. Wes hasnt slowed down sign him for three years and 24 million or less Guarantee 15.talib 1-2 year deal

  7. dassa0069 says:

    Age ALWAYS matters to Pats mgmt.

  8. ernesto says:

    Talib MUST be resigned. Our defense has been so much better since he started to play. Vollmer should also be resigned as our offense line plays better when he is healthy. Welker should be let go. He isn’t useful to the offense anymore.

    • derek says:

      welker isnt useful 2 the offense anymoe. obviously u havent been watchn the pats play the last few years

    • McTash says:

      Yeah, that Welker is a useless bum who only has lead the league in receptions the last five years, is close again this year to leading and makes the Pats O GO. Yes, useless. Good Lord.

    • Rockdog says:

      Keep in mind people that some Patriot haters make it into these blogs. Ernesto is clearly a fa of a team that could desperately use a HOF player like Welker who has at least 2-3 good years left. Speed has never been his forte so I tink he will maintain his effectiveness longer than normal WRs. Would like to see him take a few less hits.

      I think they try again to re-sign Welker but will Franchise him if necessary. We MUST sign Vollmer, Woodhead. Would LIKE to sign Edelman and Talib if they don’t want a boatload of cash. Wouldn’t give a nickel for Chung.

  9. Phil says:

    resigning Wes and Sea Bass are a MUST. after that i would try and sign Talib. let Chung walk and try and sign DaShon Goldson from the niners. Edelman is interesting because he provides some nice versatility. i don’t think he could fill the void if we let Wes walk. but he still has value. i would try and sign him to a one year deal and let him compete. i think we need to draft a WR early in April. Woodhead should stay a Patriot.

  10. Tony D says:

    THe experments are over: Chung goes as does Edelman. Woodhead stays as does Talib. I think the “cut WES loose” talk is insane! You WILL miss him…

    I don’t know what to think about Lloyd and think we should pursue a speed demon. The Colts were able to find one in the draft – T.Y. Hilton… yes they had early draft slots to do it with but there are gems at later rounds – Brady is proof of that.

  11. BeantownRyder says:

    The #1 priority in my opinion is to let Chung walk. It seems to me the Defense is worse when he’s out there. Talib has to be reasigned, it’s a different defense when he plays. if we can get a free agent like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or Leodis McKelvin and move Dennard to the slot this defense would be solid. They should try to sign vollmer but it shouldnt be at the top of the list because of his back issues.

  12. Steve Keohane says:

    If I was the one writing the big checks in Foxboro I would absolutely cut Chung and Edelman loose as both players are INJURY PRONE and thus unreliable players, despite their intermittent flashes of productivity on the field. As for the Vollmer situation, I agree that he and Solder are a good tandem at the tackle positions but it is also clear from watching both of them work that Vollmer is a NATURAL left tackle and Solder a NATURAL right tackle. Thus, while I would re-sign Vollmer, I would also re-align the offensive line so as to better accommodate Vollmer’s talents as he moves much better to his left than he does his right, whereas the opposite is true for Solder. I would also re-sign Danny Woodhead and give him a well deserved raise in the process as he is a gritty all-purpose back with a Kevin-Faulk like spirit that is not easily replaced in my judgment. As for Wes, I love the guy, but I don’t like his business sense as he is not 22 years old anymore and I would be reluctant to re-sign him for the crazy money that he will undoubtedly ask for–particularly given that he is already financially set for life and in my estimation needs to think about balancing his own financial interests with the overall personnel needs of the Patriots as a team. I would also re-sign Agib Talib as he is a difference maker in the secondary and he will be all the more effective in upcoming years if and when the Patriots’ defensive front seven demonstrate the capacity to push the pocket against quality teams with competent quarterback play. Finally, in response to Ken’s comments regarding the Patriots need for a speed wide receiver, I could not disagree more, as the Patriots won Superbowls with guys like Troy Brown who gobbled up countless 5-10 yard passes as Brady and company slowly and methodically marched down the field against opponents during the early years of Brady’s storied career. While the proverbial “DEEP BALL” is far sexier and always makes the highlight reel on SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL IN AMERICA, the Patriots in the Brady era have always been at their best and most dangerous when they have given opposing teams’ defenses a thousand small paper cuts. Personally, I’ll take Troy Brown over Randy “give me the long ball” Moss any day of the week. 🙂

  13. I think the Pat’s only will have ~$20MM to spend on free agents. I would prioritize Talib and Vollmer. I think Demps or Vareen can fill the Woodhead role, Chung is not needed. I would like to see a speed outside WR to diversify the offense and let the TEs work the middle. I would let Edleman and Welker go.

    • Billy C says:

      Everybody seems to love Demps. I’d be careful with him. In the very small body of work (preseason) that i was able to see i was very unimpressed. I know he just came back from training for the Olympics and he wasn’t in football shape, however, he really looked like a track and field athlete who lacked any real NFL instincts.

    • ctpatsfan77 says:

      Letting both Edelman and Welker go is a bad idea.

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