Potential 2014 Free Agent Targets For New England PatriotsPotential Free Agent TargetsBill Belichick and the Patriots overachieved in 2013, but they aren't satisfied after losing in the AFC Championship.
Here are a few names that the Patriots could go after on the free agent market this off-season.
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Potential 2014 Free Agent Targets For New England PatriotsWR Eric Decker2013 Stats: 87 Receptions, 1288 Yards, 11 Touchdowns
Decker was an essential piece of the Broncos record setting 2013 season on offense, and Denver will struggle to resign him given his increased productivity. He would fill an immediate need for the Patriots by providing them with a wide receiving threat outside the numbers.
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Potential 2014 Free Agent Targets For New England PatriotsCB Brent Grimes2013 Stats: 60 Tackles, 4 Interceptions, 1 Touchdown
If the Patriots don't bring back Aqib Talib at the cornerback position look for them to make a run at Grimes. The chippy, shutdown corner earned Pro Bowl honors as a Miami Dolphin in 2013 and emerged as an elite player at his position.
UPDATE: Grimes signed a four-year, $32 million deal with the Miami Dolphins.
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Potential 2014 Free Agent Targets For New England PatriotsTE Dennis Pitta2013 Stats: 20 Receptions, 169 Yards, 1 Touchdown
One glaring area that the Patriots need to improve upon is the tight end position, and Pitta would fill that role. The Super Bowl Champion missed the first 13 weeks of the season with a hip injury, but was effective upon his return, catching 20 passes in his final four contests.
UPDATE: Pitta agreed to a five-year, $32 million deal with the Ravens.
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Potential 2014 Free Agent Targets For New England PatriotsTE Scott Chandler2013 Stats: 53 Receptions, 655 Yards, 2 Touchdowns
Another tight end option is Buffalo's Scott Chandler. The 28-year-old has been solid for the Bills the last three seasons with 14 touchdowns, and can help in both the passing game and run-blocking.
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Potential 2014 Free Agent Targets For New England PatriotsCB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie2013 Stats: 34 Tackles, 3 Interceptions, 1 Touchdown
Patriots fans are undoubtedly familiar with DRC after watching his scuffles with Julian Edelman in the AFC Championship game, but his presence could immediately improve the quality of the Patriots secondary.
The cornerback has also proven durable, only missing four games in his six NFL seasons. Staying on the field was a problem for New England in 2013, as only five Patriots appeared in all 16 regular season games.
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Potential 2014 Free Agent Targets For New England PatriotsWR Anquan Boldin2013 Stats: 85 Receptions, 1179 Yards, 7 Touchdowns
The 33-year-old Boldin’s age could render him a less expensive option at the wide reciever position, although he’s shown no signs of slowing down. In the postseason, the three- time Pro Bowler caught 16 passes for 227 yards and a touchdown in San Francisco’s run to the NFC Championship game.
UPDATE: Boldin agreed to a five-year extension with San Francisco.
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Potential 2014 Free Agent Targets For New England PatriotsDE Jared Allen2013 Stats: 52 Tackles, 11.5 Sacks, 2 Forced Fumbles, 6 Passes Defensed
The veteran defensive end could provide immediate assistance to a pass-rush that was anemic in New England’s loss at Denver. Over the past decade Allen has earned a reputation as one of the league’s most feared defensive ends, and it’s well deserved.
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Potential 2014 Free Agent Targets For New England PatriotsCB Vontae Davis2013 Stats: 47 Tackles, 1 Interception
The 25-year old Davis had a down year with the Colts in 2013, only recording one interception. However, the veteran cornerback has proven his pedigree in his five-year NFL career, and his depleted statistics are also a reflection on opposing quarterbacks targeting weaker members of his secondary -- which struggled at times.
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Potential 2014 Free Agent Targets For New England PatriotsS Jairus Byrd2013 Stats: 48 Tackles, 4 Interceptions, 1 Forced Fumble
After being given the franchise tag by the Bills in 2013, it seems a disgruntled Byrd will be looking for a long-term deal somewhere other than Buffalo. Byrd is one of the league’s elite safeties and would go a long way towards strengthening New England’s secondary.
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Potential 2014 Free Agent Targets For New England PatriotsCB Charles "Peanut" Tillman2013 Stats: 41 Tackles, 3 Interceptions, 3 Forced Fumbles
This 32-year-old playmaker has been a presence in the Bears secondary for over a decade. Tillman excels at creating takeaways, something the Patriots defense has become dependent on in recent years. The 2012 All-Pro corner is one of the NFL’s best tacklers, as he recorded 41 this season from the defensive backfield in only eight games.
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Potential 2014 Free Agent Targets For New England PatriotsWR Emmanuel Sanders2013 Stats: 67 Receptions, 740 yards, 6 Touchdowns
Patriots coach Bill Belichick is obviously high on Sanders, as he put in an offer sheet for the Steelers’ wide out before the 2013 season when he was a restricted free agent. Sanders had the best year of his young career in 2013, and would provide an immediate impact to the Patriots receiving corps.
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Potential 2014 Free Agent Targets For New England PatriotsWR Sidney Rice2013 Stats: 15 Receptions, 231 Yards, 3 Touchdowns
Rice only played eight games in 2013 before a torn ACL ended his season, but could be a cheap option for the Patriots at wide receiver. The 6-4 Rice would be the tallest receiver on the team.
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