The draft is over — finally — and the Patriots have already introduced their rookies to the comfortable confines of Gillette Stadium.
The Pats addressed some of their biggest needs during the draft, adding a pair of wide receivers, a coverage linebacker and some solid depth in the secondary. But, even with all the new additions, New England still has a few glaring needs heading into next season.
First and foremost on the list should be finding a situational pass rusher to pair with young budding star Chandler Jones and help spell Rob Ninkovich in some situations. The top man for that job continues to be John Abraham but, for a few reasons, the sack specialist still hasn’t signed on the dotted line.
The other obvious hole is on the offensive line, where center Ryan Wendell played the most snaps in the NFL in 2012 and right guard Dan Connolly could use some depth behind him. So, with just one roster spot left up for grabs, adding an offensive lineman might make the most sense.
Well, I’ve got a mailbag to fill and about 1,000 words to spare. Let’s field some questions and see if we might be able to hit on all the core issues with the Patriots and around the NFL.
Do you think the Patriots are done on the free agent market? Also, whatever ended up happening on the John Abraham front?
— Joe Cardaropoli, Agawam, MA
Well, Joe, the Patriots still have one open roster spot left before they get to the 90-player maximum, so they should be adding another player in the coming days to fill things out. Former Cowboys running back Felix Jones was in for a workout on Thursday, as were veteran guards Rex Hadnot and Antoine Caldwell, which makes for three interesting possibilities.
The other big name option, as you mentioned, is John Abraham. There were obviously rumors about him signing with New England when he was in for a visit in March, but the hot stove has cooled off since. Abraham has visited with a few teams since then, including the Titans, who are seriously considering signing him.
He is a clear fit with the Patriots, even after picking up hybrid linebacker/defensive end Jamie Collins in the second round of the draft, but it seems playing time is the issue. At 35, Abraham isn’t quite the same player he once was and the Patriots probably slated him in as more of a third-down/situational rusher rather than as a starter like he prefers. If they can narrow that playing-time gap, I think the Patriots would benefit immensely. But that’s still a big if.
What are the odds of the Patriots acquiring Tim Tebow? I’m letting my imagination fly seeing Bill Belichick doing it for the sake of screwing the Jets in both games. Anyways, greetings from Mexico. There is a tremendous NFL fan base down here. Hope one day the league installs a team here.
— Ruben Rammstein, Monterrey, Mexico
Ruben, I’m glad to see you’re following along so intently from down in Mexico. Just as a note to your second point, the NFL has taken an interest in Mexico in recent years, even though they haven’t played south of the border since the 2005 season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see another game played there in the near future.
As for team Tebow, the recent rumors about Belichick “hating Tebow as a player” make it seem extremely unlikely that he would wind up in New England. Now, I don’t know if I necessarily believe that he “hates” Tebow as a player as much as a quarterback. Even so, the media circus that would come along with Tebow is counterintuitive to the Patriots’ general practice. So, if nothing else, that alone pushes me to say the odds aren’t very good.
How do the Montreal Alouettes already own the rights to Tim Tebow?
— @KevinRice93, via Twitter
Woo! Tebow mailbag!
But, seriously, don’t be discouraged. I promise this will be quick.
This question is a bit outdated, but the answer is still relevant because it applies to players throughout the NFL and not just monsieur Tebow.
Every CFL team has a designated confidential “negotiating list” with a maximum of 35 NFL players. Unlike a draft, teams can decide to put a claim on a player when they become eligible for the NFL. The CFL will then approve for that one team to hold exclusive negotiating rights with the player, if he ever decides to head up North.
So, to answer your question, the Alouettes put Tebow on their list and have first crack at working out a deal with him.
I hope [Adrian] Wilson made good on the offer for a year’s supply of diapers in exchange for Kyle Arrington’s No. 24 jersey.
— @1CrazyPATSfan, via Twitter
This note came just after I realized the Patriots had updated their team roster, with numbers, on Friday. Wilson, who had been negotiating for the number since signing with the Patriots in March, has promised Arrington a year’s supply of diapers in return, as Arrington and his wife just had their first child during the offseason.
Well, Wilson did come through on the promise, as you can see in this photo Wilson posted to Twitter just last month.
It wasn’t exactly a mailbag question, but just a fun note that I thought I’d pass along.
Be sure to send in your questions for next week’s mailbag (links below).