BOSTON (CBS) — While the majority of coverage surrounding the Patriots over the past few weeks has focused mostly on Wes Welker, the Patriots have made some solid additions via free agency which have flown somewhat under the radar, at least relatively speaking.
On the defensive side, they re-signed free agent Kyle Arrington and Aqib Talib, and they also signed veteran safety Adrian Wilson, who’s spent the first 12 years of his career with the Cardinals. Offensively, they obviously signed Danny Amendola as well as receiver Donald Jones, running back/special teamer Leon Washington and tackle Will Svitek.
While the Patriots weren’t apparently eager to make a big splash when free agency began last week, they nevertheless got plenty accomplished. Owner Robert Kraft spoke with Patriots.com’s Jackie Brittain and explained the team’s free-agency philosophy.
“We were heavily involved in helping to finalize the labor agreement. We understand that the cap is going to have very modest growth this year and next year,” Kraft said. “So even though our TV [ratings] spikes big time, the cap will not grow next year. We’ve tried to do our planning in a way that we try to understand where the value is.
“When you jump into the market in anything right away, you pay top price. We’re looking for things to be on sale, but real good value on sale. Brioni suits at half-price.”
Kraft, who’s seen his team’s offense effectively dominate the league since 2007, made it clear that defense was a top priority early in free agency.
“We think we’ve done a few things to plug up our defense,” he said. “You can’t win if you can’t stop the other team, no matter how many points you score.”
He also spoke very highly of Wilson, invoking the name of Rodney Harrison, arguably the greatest free-agent signing the Patriots have ever made.
“I remember when Rodney came, the physical presence he was,” Kraft said. “I think Adrian, hopefully, is the same kind of player. I’ve admired watching him for so many years. He’s a big fellow, he’s got a great physical presence.”
Kraft also gave credit to Tom Brady for restructuring his deal, which gave the Patriots some much-needed flexibility in making these (and future) moves.
“We all know how lucky we are to have him as our [quarterback],” Kraft said. “I happen to think we’re privileged to have the finest quarterback and the finest coach [Bill Belichick] in the history of the game at once. My job is to make sure we keep it together as long as we can.
“Thank goodness that he did things for us that very few athletes — I don’t know of any other athlete who’s done that. Not only did it create cap space for us this year but it allows us to have stability over the next five years and hopefully build a winning team around him. So our fans will be very excited with what happens down at Gillette Stadium.”