Not a lot of people are really pleased with the pass-rushing situation the New England Patriots currently have, which means that the early off-season visits of John Abraham and Dwight Freeney come back into focus, with the Pats’ like for veteran players might push them in the direction of choosing one of them instead of trying to use the draft to strengthen that aspect of their defensive game.
At the moment, the Patriots, who recently added Tommy Kelly to help them with the interior defensive line, have Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich, Jermaine Cunningham, Justin Francis and Jake Bequette on the depth chart. Clearly, not enough to provide a serious solution to their outside pass-rushing situation, which contributed to the fact that the Patriots had one of the bottom 10 defenses in the NFL against the pass last season.
And meanwhile, despite making a lot of noise from the moment free agency began, both Abraham and Freeny, on the wrong side of 30 by a few years, are still without a team. While the interest in them was quite high early on, their salary demands have kept them off a new team roster. Freeney, 33, who has been his entire career with the Indianapolis Colts, is hoping that playing in a 4-3 defense once again will improve his numbers from 2012 (only 5 sacks and 12 tackles). Abraham, who remains a very productive defensive end despite being 34, recorded 10 sacks last season.
In any case, for the Patriots to feel really safe about pass-rushing, they might need to add more than one player, and while getting one of these veterans is a very good solution, it doesn’t provide them with an every-down kind of player, meaning they’ll probably need to either spend a lot of money (which they don’t really like) on both of them, or simply pick one and head to the draft ,where pass-rushing talent is quite abundant this season, and find them another solution.