The New England Patriots have yet again underwhelmed fans. Going into free agency, word was that the Patriots had offered wide receiver Julian Edelman a contract and wanted an answer before free agency started. They were also the favorite to land cornerback Aqib Talib. If they brought both of those players back, it would be a good start to free agency. Yes, they would still need to do more; however, they would have brought back their two key free agents and could build from there.
4:00 on Tuesday came and Julian Edelman had turned down the Patriots offer after his agent said that they did not believe it was a fair offer. In reality, Edelman’s camp was probably right. I doubt it was fair. Edelman can still re-sign with the Patriots, but I would be surprised, at this point, if he does come back. I expect that Texans, Ravens, and perhaps even the Colts to be interested in him. If the Seahawks lose Golden Tate, they could even contact Edelman.
Talib is a different story. They had the chance last year to lock him up long-term. The market for corners before the 2013 season was nothing like it is right now; they could have signed Talib for very affordable money. They did not. He had a great season, despite missing games due to injury. They could have franchised him to make sure that their best defensive player stayed under their control for at least one more year. They did not. They were the favorite to sign Talib at the beginning of free agency, yet they did not even offer him a contract. Throughout most of the day, it was said that Talib had “no standing offers.” I believe it. The Patriots knew the market that was set by cornerbacks Sam Shields and Brett Grimes, yet did not offer it. Enter the Denver Broncos.
Denver signed Talib for a whopping $57 million over six years. I did not expect that Patriots to make such an offer to Talib. I do not expect Talib to make it through the six years, but I can guarantee that neither do the Broncos. They only signed him for six years so they could guarantee they got him and made the team better for the present so Peyton Manning can win.
Now that Talib is gone, the Patriots must act. They must make a push for Tampa Bay Buccaneers superstar Darrelle Revis. Even if they get Revis, they still have a lot to do. The Broncos have drastically improved their defense and even if they lose receiver Eric Decker, they still have a dynamic offense.
They MUST make a push to trade for Revis. If they pursue him after he is cut, they will not get him. They cannot and will not win a bidding war. In addition to Revis, they must go out and find a defensive end, preferably Jared Allen. They must offer Julian Edelman a legitimate deal. It would be cruel to, not only not build a championship team for Tom Brady, but to take away his top receiver two consecutive years. If they also bring in Brandon LaFell as an outside receiver, that would be great, but he cannot take the place of Edelman. It must be LaFell AND Edelman; not LaFell INSTEAD of Edelman.
I know that free agency has just started, but they will not make a big splash. They never do. They are content just being in chase. They would prefer to be in the AFC Championship for three straight years and not win a Super Bowl than to win a Super Bowl and have a mediocre season following the win, like the Baltimore Ravens did. However, John Elway and the Broncos are going for a Super Bowl. They are making the most of Peyton Manning’s final seasons. The New England Patriots are too content just going to the AFC Championship game; they are wasting Tom Brady.