The Patriots released running back Corey Dillon. The 32 year old was the cornerstone of the Patriots rushing attack for 3 seasons, including a 1,635 yard campaign in 2004, a Patriots record. Dillon was a big part of 3 division titles, 6 playoff victories, and 1 Super Bowl Championship with the Pats. Overall he ran for 3,180 yards, and 37 touchdowns with us, and had 431 receiving yards with 2 TD receptions. In 8 playoff games, he rushed for 508 yards on 120 carries.
With the emergence of Laurence Maroney in the backfield, and Dillon's age, this move is an understandable one. Although Maroney did lack some consistency, and his power running left a little to be desired.
The Patriots re-signed Heath Evans, who can rush for power, but not nearly as good as Dillon. Then again, not as expensive as Dillon, either. I'd expect the Patriots to sign or draft another running back in order to compliment Maroney.
PATS BAG ADALIUS
The Patriots made a huge signing just 36 hours into the free agency period, pinning down the versatile Adalius Thomas, formerly of the Ravens. Thomas is big and fast, and is capable of playing OLB and DE, reminiscent of Willie McGinist. He's the type of linebacker that can play a good zone defense in coverage in the middle, cover big fast tight ends, spy on mobile QBs, stop the run on the outside and inside, and rush the passer. He had 11 sacks last season, and 38.5 in his career. He also had 106 tackles.
In our 3-4 defense, Thomas is the perfect fit. The 3-4 is dependant on defensive linemen who can eat blocks and maintain the line of scrimmage, with fast and strong LBs behind them to exploit holes in pass defense, and plug holes in run defense. Thomas can do both of these jobs, very well.
In the San Diego and Indy games, we definitely saw a lack of good pass rushing, and good tackling by our front 7. But Thomas will improve this dramatically. With him, Colvin, Vrabel, and Bruschi returning for another year, we have the foundation of a very nice linebacker corps.
Thomas says that the Patriots were the first team to make him an offer, and he instantly accepted. "We don't want to come here and play games," he said. "There's no need to go looking around for the best, when you start with the best. My first offer was here and there was no need to go anywhere else."
He also said: "I'm a football player. I don't play a position. Whatever is needed for me to do here, I'm going to do." If his words ring true, he will fit in very nicely in Foxborough.
ANOTHER BRADY IN THE BUNCH
The Patriots signed 12 year veteran Kyle Brady. Belichick had wanted Brady with the 10th pick i the 1994 draft, but the Jets traded up to 9th and grabbed him. Although Brady's best years are behind him (hasn't had 20+ receptions since 2003, or 30+ since 2002), he's a good blocker with the ability to catch an occasional pass.
With Graham as a free agent, and Watson and Thomas in the mix, it appears as though Brady will end up as a 3rd tight end, coming in on goal line plays or short yardage downs as a blocker.
PATS SIGN SAMMY MORRIS
With Dillon gone, the Pats acted quickly to sign another RB. They picked up Sammy Morris, formerly of the Dolphins. The 6' 0", 228 pounder adds some versatility, not very surprisingly. Last year he had 400 yards on 92 attempts (4.3 YPC), and 162 receiving yards on 21 receptions. He also played special teams.
PATS IN TALKS WITH WES WELKER
This guy has New England Patriots written all over him, except on his jersey right now. The Patriots are reportedly going to send Wes Welker, a restricted free agent with the Dolphins, an offer sheet. If Miami doesn't match the offer, then he's ours.
The 26 year old out of Texas Tech is very versatile. He had 67 receptions for 687 yards last season, returned 48 kicks with an average of 22.2, returned 41 punts with a 9.2 average, only lost 1 fumble all season, and in 2004 when Olindo Mare was hurt against us, he was the place kicker. In that game he was 1/1 on field goals, 1/1 on extra points, and averaged 52.7 yards on 3 kickoffs.
He's a scrappy, tough player that gets every extra yard he can. He could fit in nicely on offense as a receiver. He definitely isn't a #1 WR, but he can play the slot, exploiting mismatches, and contributing yardage. We desperately need help at WR, and Welker is that help.
OTHER PATRIOTS NEWS
Special teamster Don Davis filed his retirement papers. Davis mostly played special teams, occasionally being used as a linebacker or safety in emergency situations. David had a knee injury in December and underwent surgery, but wouldn't have been able to run until August.
The Patriots extended O-lineman Billy Yates' contract for 3 years, worth $2.1 million.
The Rams made an offer to unrestricted free agent Tully Banta-Cain, but TBC didn't sign it, hoping to receive more offers.
Daniel Graham has been shopping himself to Oakland, Denver, St. Louis, and soon Seattle.
The Patriots added Billy O'Brien, a Massachusetts native and former offensive coordinator at Duke, as a defensive assistant.
The Patriots attached the franchise tag to unrestricted free agent Asante Samuel.
When he heard the Patriots signed Adalius Thomas, Peyton Manning wet himself.
FIRST AND ONLY POST ON BRADY'S BABY
I'm only going to write about this once, because this blog is about Boston sports, not Boston sports personalities and their personal lives. None of us, nor the media know the true situation with Tom Brady and Bridget Moynahan. None of us know why they broke up. And it should stay that way. All this bS flying around coming from "friends" of Bridget or Tom is irreputable, and unnewsworthy. Honestly, my real friends, the one's I would confide in about something like this stuff, wouldn't be e-mailing Boston.com, or whatever. The type of people who would do that, I simply wouldn't tell them anything important or personal. And I think most people are like that, most likely including Bridget and Tom.
So congratulations, Tom Brady, but don't let this stuff distract you this fall and winter.