The New England Patriots’ improving defense may be getting an influx of veteran leadership, as the Patriots are bringing in safety Adrian Wilson (Arizona) and defensive ends Dwight Freeney (Indianapolis) and John Abraham (Atlanta).
The Patriots and Freeney know each other well. Freeney was the leader of the Colts’ defense that battled the Patriots throughout the past decade. He did not fit neatly into defensive coordinator Bruce Arians’ new defensive scheme in Indy, and is now looking for a new home. The eleven year veteran has seen his production diminish in recent seasons, but his leadership could be a boon to the Patriots’ young pass rushing talents. Similarly, Patriots’ fans are well aware of Abraham, as he spent his first six seasons with the Jets before spending seven years in Atlanta. Abraham had ten sacks for the Falcons last season and is still seen as a disruptive presence on the defensive line. He would seem to be the better grab for the Patriots if they can land him. Abraham has 122 career sacks, while Freeney has collected 107.5.
Safety Adrian Wilson has spent his entire twelve year career with the Cardinals, and while lacking the physical nature of Bernard Pollard, he would be a stabilizing force in the secondary, where he could potentially play alongside Devin McCourty. That requires the Patriots to stabilize their cornerback situation, which is in flux right now given the free agent status of Aqib Talib and the forthcoming criminal sentencing of Alfonzo Dennard. Wilson has 27 interceptions and two touchdowns in his NFL career.
It looks like the Patriots have good plans for the money recouped through the restructuring of Tom Brady’s contract. We will keep following this to see if the Patriots reel in any of the three.