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Patriots say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to players during busy off-season

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For Patriots fans, this offseason has felt like a post-Super Bowl hangover. Though the Patriots are the reigning world champions, they have already lost key members of the 2014 squad who fell to the almighty dollar in what is the free agency fiasco.

The largest domino to fall was All-Pro corner Darrelle Revis, who failed to re-sign with the team after shipping back to AFC East rival, the New York Jets on a five-year, $70 million contract. Along with Revis, the Patriots also lost their other starting cornerback Brandon Browner after the Patriots declined his option. Browner signed on with the New Orleans Saints for three years and  $15 million.

Along with defense came the departure of beloved Patriot, nose tackle Vince Wilfork. His absence leaves quarterback Tom Brady as the only Patriot on the roster who was a part of the 2004 Super Bowl team. Wilfork now has found a new home with the Houston Texans and former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.

On the other side of the ball, the Patriots have lost their secret pass-catching backfield threat in Shane Vereen, a former second round pick in 2011. He signed with the New York Giants for a big payday.

With all these holes the Patriots were quick to find what they could on the open market. They signed two new defensive backs in Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain. Fletcher, who struggled in the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive scheme last year, is hoping redeem himself in New England and is a low risk high reward profile player. McClain, a University of Connecticut graduate, returns to the New England region after being with the Falcons and should be a starter along with Fletcher in the Patriots defense.

The Patriots in order to solidify their secondary also resigned their former first round pick, Devin McCourty, showing a strong commitment to one of, if not, the best free safety in the league.

Jabaal Sheard in training camp with the Cleveland Browns.
By Flickr user EDrost88

Despite losing half back Shane Vereen in the midst of free agency, the Patriots worked their scouting magic and found little-known Travaris Cadet, a former Appalachian State project who had been with the Saints as an undrafted free agent. Due to number crunching, Cadet could not be held on the Saints roster. One key statistic to note was Cadet’s pass-catch ability out of the backfield, in three seasons he caught 45 passes for 345 yards and two touchdowns. Although Cadet is not a solidified option, he is an optimistic one as well as a cheap option for the Patriots salary cap.

The Patriots also may have the best tight end group in the league. The Patriots added former “Patriot-killer” Scott Chandler, formerly of the Buffalo Bills. Chandler now joins Rob Gronkowski in the 6-foot-7 club at tight end.

The best free agent signing off the market was that of Jabaal Sheard, a defensive end formerly of the Cleveland Browns. After years of instability in Cleveland, Sheard comes to one of the most successful franchises in NFL history. Sheard, in four seasons, has accumulated 23 sacks. One of those sacks was to his now-teammate, Tom Brady.

The Patriots won’t be the same 2014-15 Super Bowl team, they will be one of mystery and we will have to wait to find out how the pieces will be put together.

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About the Writer
Ian Kea, Staff Writer

Hailing from the Hoosier State, Ian is a History and Government major in his Junior year. A political junkie by nature, Ian labels himself a 'Democratic...

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Patriots say ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to players during busy off-season