If you could sign one free agent, who would it be and why?
Jason: The Pats don’t have many holes that could be plugged in free agency at a price the team will be willing to pay. Players like Nnamdi Asomugha would be nice to have, but not at the expense of re-signing Wes Welker and locking up other potential free agents in 2012 and beyond. With that in mind, I’d like to see the Patriots take a stab at Steelers RT Willie Colon. He is a great team player and would fit in nicely opposite Vollmer. He is coming off a 2010 season lost to injury, so that could deflate his price tag a bit.
Trevor: The Patriots are needy at the offensive line, wide receiver, defensive line, and outside linebacker positions, but I don’t expect the Pats to make any big splash in free agency. One of the biggest problems this past season was generating a pass rush, as the Patriots had the worst third down defense in the league. Signing an outside line backer like Matt Roth of the Cleveland Browns would help alleviate that problem. Roth is not a pure pass rusher, but he is versatile, and Bill Belichick wants his OLBs to be versatile—stop the run, drop into coverage, take on blockers, and rush the passer—they can’t be one-dimensional. Matt Roth (6’4″, 275lbs) is similar in a lot of aspects to Willie McGinest (6’5″, 270lbs), who was once a Patriot great and Belichick favorite. Roth won’t break the bank to sign either.
Stephen: If the Patriots could add one free agent this offseason, it would have to be Cullen Jenkins. The big and versatile defensive lineman may not be well known by most fans, but to scouts and analysts his value is not overlooked. Jenkins has experience in the 3-4 and could also be a tremendous interior rusher in sub packages. While the Pats have a lot of bodies on the line, there isn’t a ton of talent outside of Big Vince.
Rick: Before the draft, my answer would have been CB Nnamdi Asomugha from the Oakland Raiders. With the pick of Ras-I Dowling in the 2nd Round, I don’t see the Patriots exploring him in free agency, which everyone knows I called for him to be a Patriot back in January. Right now, I would have to say Mathias Kiwanauka of the New York Giants. Watching him play here in New York, he looks like a player who just needs a defined role in order to play up to his potential. He is 32 years old and has battled injury, but he can come in and make an impact to the struggling pass rush. Keep an eye on the Osi Umenyiora situation. If he can becomes available, New England should take a shot on him as well. I would say Kiwanauka right now because he is a veteran and give him the main role of rushing the passer and he would flourish in Belichick’s system.