BOSTON (CBS) — It is widely believed around the NFL that the Patriots are content to let Brandon Spikes walk via free agency. And it appears as though the team already has its sights set on a replacement.

According to Brandon Krisztal of the Denver Post, linebacker Wesley Woodyard’s first free-agent visit will be with the Patriots.

Woodyard, 27, has reportedly drawn interest from the Dallas Cowboys as well, but when free agency begins at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, the Patriots will get the first chance to woo him.

The 6-foot, 233-pound linebacker has averaged 14.5 games per season since his rookie year in 2008. He had a monster year in 2011, recording 117 tackles, three interceptions and 5.5 sacks, all career highs. He followed that up with an 84-tackle, one-interception, 1.5-sack season last year.

Against the Patriots in last year’s regular-season matchup, Woodyard finished the game with 15 total tackles (seven solo, eight assists) and a forced fumble.


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