We heard earlier today that veteran cornerback Terence Newman was in town to visit the Patriots, but Newman isn’t the only free agent corner the team is considering. According to Howard Balzer of The SportsXchange (via Twitter), the Pats also hosted Tarell Brown, Bradley Fletcher, and Robert McClain.
While Darrelle Revis‘ departure for the division-rival Jets was the most notable shake-up in the Patriots’ secondary, and will have the biggest impact on the group for 2015, Brandon Browner also departed in free agency, signing with the Saints. In-house options like Kyle Arrington, Logan Ryan, Alfonzo Dennard, and Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler could be in line for increased roles next season, but it looks like the Pats wouldn’t mind adding a veteran or two to that group.
Brown, Fletcher, and McClain all saw significant playing time for their respective teams in 2014, with Brown (Raiders) and Fletcher (Eagles) logging 1,000+ defensive snaps while McClain (Falcons) played 642. None of them graded particularly well over at Pro Football Focus (subscription required), with Brown placing 75th among 108 qualified cornerbacks and McClain and Fletcher checking in at 90th and 92nd respectively.
Still, Browner (79th) was in that range as well, and the Pats’ coaching staff certainly doesn’t rely on PFF’s evaluations when making decisions on which players to target — no one in this group of free agent corners is capable of adequately replacing Revis, but Bill Belichick and company may find one or two players they like.