Source: Mark Anderson, Patriots Have Spoken, Though Future in New England Still Unclear

Defensive end Mark Anderson had a terrific first season with the Patriots, but with a few days to go before the start of free agency, it’s unclear if he’ll get a second year in New England.

The Patriots have had conversations with Anderson, according to a source, but they haven’t amounted to anything as of Thursday. With free agency beginning Tuesday at 4 p.m., there’s still plenty of time for the two camps to work out a deal before Anderson hits the open market. But again, it doesn’t appear as though anything is imminent.

Anderson revived his career as a pass-rushing specialist in 2011, and he notched 10 sacks in the regular season as a hybrid edge rusher, plus 2.5 sacks in the playoffs. He played a vast majority of the season as a defensive end before disguising his role as more of a rush linebacker once Andre Carter got hurt in Week 15.

Anderson enjoyed his time in New England and would like to remain with the Patriots. However, with an intriguing crop of free-agent defensive ends — headlined by Houston’s Mario Williams — and a fairly deep draft class, the Patriots’ priorities could be elsewhere.

It makes sense for the Patriots to explore every avenue at the position in free agency, though they might prefer to pay Anderson as a situational player. If Anderson wants to get paid like one of the 17 players who recorded double-digit sacks last season — to take it a step further, only three of them are free agents — the numbers probably won’t line up.

Anderson’s market could be foggy, too. He had a career-high 12 sacks as a rookie in 2006, but he only tallied 13.5 sacks from 2007-10 before breaking out in New England.

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