<
>

Eight possible fits for Patriots on the free-agent market

Eight players still on the free-agent market whom we could envision having some appeal to the New England Patriots:

Tarell Brown -- The cornerback visited last month and is coming off a foot injury that might be the main reason he hasn't signed anywhere. The 30-year-old has started 56 games in the past four seasons, and when he's healthy, perhaps he'll draw consideration.

Dan Connolly -- The interior offensive lineman, who visited with the Buccaneers on Thursday, has been with the Patriots since 2007 and served as a captain last season. Guard is arguably the team's top need at this point but bringing Connolly back into the fold would naturally make it less so.

Dane Fletcher -- The Patriots previously had Andrew Gachkar and Rolando McClain in for visits, which one might say reflects their desire for more depth at the off-the-line linebacker spot. Fletcher, who spent last season in Tampa Bay, knows the system from having played in New England from 2010 to 2013.

Colin McCarthy -- The former Tennessee Titan, who visited the Patriots earlier in free agency, could be another consideration as an off-the-line linebacker. Health is a consideration, as McCarthy is coming off shoulder surgery.

Stevan Ridley -- Drafted by the Patriots in the third round of the 2011 draft, he visited with the Dolphins and Jets this week. If the offers are in the same ballpark, perhaps he'll view staying with a coaching staff who knows him best as the smart play for him.

Pierre Thomas -- A veteran running back, Thomas has shown a knack for catching the ball out of the backfield and picking up the blitz, which could make him an attractive option if current replacement plans for Shane Vereen don't unfold as desired.

Reggie Wayne -- The longtime Indianapolis Colt told reporters on Thursday that he'd like to play one more season. Bill Belichick's respect and admiration for Wayne is well documented, but the question would be how much gas he thinks Wayne has left in the tank. The Patriots showed a willingness to add a receiver with their courtship of Stevie Johnson, who ultimately signed in San Diego.

Stefen Wisniewski -- The five-year veteran interior offensive lineman visited the team on Monday and is recovering from shoulder surgery. If he's willing to move to guard, and the sides can work out a contract, he might be a good fallback plan if Connolly doesn't return.