With free agency set to begin March 5, ESPNBoston.com will look at the "free-agent fit" at each position, while projecting possibilities for the Patriots. Today, it’s safeties:
RATING THE NEED: Low
CURRENT PERSONNEL: Brandon Meriweather, James Sanders, Pat Chung, Brandon McGowan
KEY CONSIDERATION: Sanders enters the second year of the three-year contract he signed in 2009 and is scheduled to earn $2.3 million. Will management deem that too rich for his role? He had been replaced by McGowan during the 2009 season before regaining the starting job late in the year. Meriweather played more snaps than any other defender, while Chung, the team's top draft choice in 2009, got his feet wet playing 20 percent of the defensive snaps.
NOTABLE TARGETS ON MARKET: O.J. Atogwe (Rams, restricted), Antoine Bethea (Colts, restricted), Mike Brown (Chiefs, unrestricted), Melvin Bullitt (Colts, restricted), Ryan Clark (Steelers, unrestricted), Roman Harper (Saints, restricted), Dawan Landry (Ravens, restricted), Lawyer Milloy (Seahawks, unrestricted), Bernard Pollard (Texans, restricted), Darren Sharper (Saints, unrestricted)
MOST LIKELY TARGETS FOR PATS: Mike Brown, Ryan Clark
SLEEPER POSSIBILITY FOR PATS: O.J. Atogwe
OUTLANDISH THOUGHT FOR PATS: Bernard Pollard
WRAP IT UP: The Patriots figure to want to get Chung into the lineup at some point, so adding another player at safety would seemingly interfere with that possibility. That’s why an addition doesn’t seem like it would be in the cards, unless it was a draft choice to develop for down the line. The only reason Pollard is on the list is because bad things seem to happen when the Patriots play against him.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?: Which of these safeties would you most like to see in a Patriots uniform? Share your thoughts in the comments section of this blog entry.
Coming tomorrow: Linebackers