Free agency: With Pats, you never know

In a piece now posted on ESPNBoston.com, Mike Reiss writes on the Patriots' possible approach in free agency this year.

Ask many around the NFL about the New England Patriots and free agency, and the reputation is that they are a team that avoids the big splash. They are value spenders.

When the heat gets turned up on other NFL clubs for not being more aggressive in free agency, they sometimes point to the Patriots as a model they are following.

Really, though, that perception is not entirely true.

In 2003, the Patriots spent big for linebacker Rosevelt Colvin. They did it again in 2007 with linebacker Adalius Thomas.

So when free agency starts at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday, would it be shocking if the Patriots begin to explore the possibility of reeling one of the biggest fish in the free-agent pond, a defensive difference-maker such as Mario Williams?

Not at all. That's not to say it will happen, but it highlights how in Bill Belichick's 12 years in charge of the Patriots' football operation, he has been anything but predictable in free agency. That's how he likes it.

As for what the Patriots might do this year, Reiss points out the team's best signings last year came in the second and third wave of free agency -- offensive lineman Brian Waters (Sept. 4), safety James Ihedigbo (Aug. 19) and defensive linemen Andre Carter (Aug. 8 ) and Mark Anderson (Aug. 5).

It could be the same this year. Then again, with Bill Belichick, one never knows.

To read the piece, CLICK HERE.