The NFL free agent/legal tampering/most.important.sports.event.in.early.May is well underway. What's important?
- The Dolphins get Ndamukong Suh, giving them a pretty nasty defensive line. This will give them great comfort when the Patriots treat them to a warm reception in Foxboro, and even more comfort when Tom Brady takes his one sack and burns them repeatedly. Welcome to the Patriots world. Oh, wait, they know that world. It won't change for them.
- The Buffalo Bills got a new coach (Rex Ryan didn't come as a free agent, granted) and he got some new toys. Percy Harvin at WR, but the real news was trades. Matt Cassel, LeSean McCoy, Richie Incognito. Good moves. Rex Ryan knows all about losing to the Patriots. It will be more competitive in Buffalo but not competitive enough.
- And the Jets got a new coach, Tood Bowles, a defensive wiz. He's got Darrell Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Marcus Gilchrist. Good defensive tools. Oh, and a quarterback competition, Ryan Fitzpatrick traded from Houston, where they tried to burn him out. But ownership will fail him, and the Patriots will not.
So, the Patriots lost Shane Vereen, RB, a really versatile player. Revis, Browner, top cornerbacks in a passing league. Belichick will retool, plan around lesser talents, and probably trade for an unrealized talent. As usual. I'm not too concerned. He will do what needs to be done, and the Pats have some cap money to throw around. Devin McCourty was retained. Critrical. He's young, home-grown, quietly swaggering, and worth the money.
Which leads to their lack of action in the free agent market. Not.
Chimdi Chekwa is a typical BB signing, an underperformer in Oakland. He could really shine in a well run program, wher he knows the effort is rewarded with legitimate aspirations to Super Bowl victory. It can't be easy to get self-motiviated as a Raider.
Brandon Gibson from Miami. The Patriots LOVE to steal productive players from division rivals, as their rivals love to do to them.
Kevin Dorsey from Green Bay, a competent receiver.
Jonathan Freeny also from Miami, is a special teams contributor, fulfilling one of BB's key requirements, multiple roles.
Jabaal Sheard has shown signs of being a pass rusher. With coaching and scheming, he may be more productive than previously.
Yes, I'm ever hopeful. The Patriots always look for value, and restocking at defense will be tough. Repeating at the Super Bowl is the goal, but so is building a contender for 2016.
Overall I am pleased. Good choices..