WR Santonio Holmes
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)What better way to improve your team than take away from a rival? Despite being suspended for the first four games of 2010 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, Holmes put together a very impressive campaign. He hauled in 28 passes for 393 yards and 5 touchdowns, adding 2 more scores in the playoffs. He would be a great target for Tom Brady, but will likely command a big contract.
LT Matt Light
(Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)One of the most important free agents for the Patriots is one of their own. At 33, Light is getting up there in age, but the Pats should be focused on keeping Tom Brady upright. Light has been a life-long Patriot, but if the price isn't right he could have played his last down in New England.
LB Matt Roth
(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)The 28-year-old Roth has spent the last season and a half in Cleveland, totaling 7.5 sacks and 114 tackles. He played four and a half seasons with the Dolphins before being traded to the Browns, totaling 20 sacks over his seven-year career.
DE Marcus Spears
(Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)Spears has been seen as a bit of a disappointment in Dallas for not putting up big numbers after being taken 20th overall in 2005, but is a solid defender against the run. At 6-4, 311 lbs he would line up nicely next to Vince Wilfork.
G Logan Mankins
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)Mankins is not technically a free agent, as the Patriots have placed the Franchise Tag on the All-Pro guard. But Mankins wants a long-term deal and will likely hold out (again) if he doesn't get it. Mankins made a big difference after returning in Week 9 last year, and the Patriots should place their top priority on retaining Tom Brady's top protector.
WR Chad Ochocinco
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)The star receiver has said on numerous occasions he would love to play for the Patriots, and has the utmost respect for head coach Bill Belichick. He caught just four touchdowns in 2010, totaling 831 yards in 14 games. It was just the third time in his 11-year career Ocho didn’t ecliplse the 1000 yard mark. He is getting up there in age at 33, but would be a nice deep threat for Tom Brady.
WR Donte Stallworth
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)Former Patriots Receiver Donte Stallworth told Gresh and Zo he would be open to a return to New England, and the Pats may take him up on that. Stallworth was not used much in the 2007 season with Randy Moss and Wes Welker breaking records, but caught 3 touchdowns and showed off his speed. Stallworth was suspended for the 2009 season after pleading guilty to DUI vehicular manslaughter charges in Florida
LB LaMarr Woodley
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)The 26-year-old free agent would be a nice fit for the Patriots, but might be a bit out of their price range. Woodley totaled 50 tackles and 10 sacks for the Steelers in 2010, with 2 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles. The Patriots linebacking core could use another veteran to lead the way with Jerod Mayo.
WR Randy Moss
(Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)Even after trading Moss in 2010, could he return to New England in 2011? Moss’ agent said the receiver is in the best shape of his career, and is motivated to return to form after disappointing stops in Minnesota and Tennessee. Moss had just 28 receptions and 5 touchdowns in 2010, with just 2 receptions over the last 5 games of the season.
WR/KR Brad Smith
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)Although listed as a receiver, Smith is more valuable in the return game and in some cases a rusher. He averaged 7.9 yards on 38 rush attempts (799 yards) with a touchdown. He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, and even threw for a score for the New York Jets in 2010.
WR Plaxico Burress
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)The troubled receiver missed the 2010 season while serving jail time on gun charges, but is looking to get back into football. Burress has 505 career receptions with 55 touchdowns over nine years with the Steelers and Giants. It would be tough to imagine Patriot fans would want Plax on the team after he caught the game-winning touchdown with 35 seconds left in Super Bowl XLII.
DE Mathias Kiwanuka
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)The former BC Eagle missed the final 13 games of 2010 with a herniated disc, but expects to be ready for the 2011 season. The 28-year-old could help the New England pass-rush as he has 23.5 sacks in 61 career games with the New York Giants.
WR Sidney Rice
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)Rice spent the beginning of the 2010 season on the PUP list after undergoing hip surgery in August. He returned to play the final six games, catching 17 passes and 2 touchdowns. Rice had a career year in 2009, when Minnesota made it to the NFC Championship game, amassing 1,312 yards with 8 touchdowns.