The Patriots have already started their offseason process of improving their roster, and Zuri Berry of Boston.com ranked the team’s top 12 players set for free agency. The list is of course highlighted at the top with Aqib Talib and LeGarrette Blount. However, he has center Ryan Wendell as the Patriots’ third priority, ahead of bigger names such as Brandon Spikes and Julian Edelman. Wendell was far from an All-Pro center this past year, but Berry notes that the success the offensive line had as a group only raises the importance of bringing back their center at what is likely only to be a small raise. Other notes from the Patriots’ offseason:
- The list of Patriots’ free agents also includes both Michael Hoomanawanui and Matthew Mulligan, the tight ends who were pushed into starting roles due to the losses of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, noting that neither’s presence on the roster is guaranteed next year. The surprise thought from Berry is that the team could opt to pass on Edelman in favor of the much cheaper Austin Collie, who despite difficulty staying on the field, made a few big plays this season.
- Count Devin McCourty as someone who wants Talib back in New England, writes Jeff Howe of BostonHerald.com. “He’s been a key part,” McCourty said.“I hope he is back. That doesn’t just go for him. I hope a lot of our guys stay where we’re at, especially in the secondary. We have a good core, and I hope we can stay together as long as possible.”
- Brendan Daly was hired as a Patriots’ defensive assistant, according to Patriots.com. Daly has been a defensive line coachin the NFL since 2005, most recently for last year’s Vikings under Leslie Frazier.