Kamerion Wimbley Makes Sense for Patriots, But Aggressive Market Could Drive Up Price

There's a new pass rusher on the market, and he'd be a logical fit for the Patriots.

The Raiders released Kamerion Wimbley on Friday after a few tumultuous weeks between the two sides. The 28-year-old had been set to earn a $4.5 million roster bonus Saturday, and by cutting him prior to that deadline, the Raiders saved $17.5 million, according to Pro Football Talk.

With the money in mind, Wimbley's camp had apparently been looking for answers from the Raiders for some time, and agent Joe Linta said the Raiders hadn't spoken to Wimbley about his future in two weeks. After the stalemate, they finally reached a resolution.

Wimbley might be the best pass rusher on the open market at this point, too. He's a natural defensive end who has played outside linebacker at times in his six-year career. The Browns took Wimbley with the 13th pick in the 2006 draft, and he spent four seasons in Cleveland before getting traded to the Raiders.

The Florida State product appears to be at his best when he's a pure rusher. He had a career-high 11 sacks as a rookie, but the Browns gave him more coverage responsibilities over the next three seasons, when he only accumulated a total of 15.5 sacks. Wimbley has gotten it back in gear with 16 sacks over the last two years in Oakland.

It would make sense for the Patriots to show interest in Wimbley, too, because of his knowledge of Romeo Crennel's defensive system. And as the Patriots appear to be toying with the idea of staying with a 4-3 base defense, Wimbley would be a natural at defensive end much like Mark Anderson and Andre Carter in 2011. Wimbley also has a pipeline to New England, as Linta has represented about a dozen Patriots in recent years, including quarterback Brian Hoyer, center Nick McDonald and former guard Joe Andruzzi.

The problem will be the money. Since Wimbley could very well be the best edge rusher on the market, plenty of teams could get aggressive for his services. Plus, the teams that didn't even get to sniff Mario Williams before he shacked up in Buffalo might be more inclined to reel in Wimbley.

If someone offers him five years and something like $40 million, the Patriots almost certainly wouldn't be inclined to give him Vince Wilfork money. But if Wimbley's market is closer to four years and $25 million, it could be a match for New England.

That's the thing. Wimbley makes sense for the Patriots, but there will be plenty of other teams thinking the same thing about themselves. Wimbley's market could make him a tricky player for the Patriots to sign.

Have a question for Jeff Howe? Send it to him via Twitter at @jeffphowe or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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