Jerod Mayo has played in 12 games for the Patriots since 2013. (NFL Game Rewind)
The New England Patriots brought in linebacker Rolando McClain for a free-agent visit this week. And while the 25-year-old has since returned to the Dallas Cowboys on a one-year deal reportedly worth up to $4 million, New England’s off-the-ball interest could be telling at this stage in the game.
According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, the Patriots offered McClain a one-year, $4 million contract. But the 12-game starter in 2014 left without signing, and ultimately agreed with the Cowboys on a comparably structured deal Wednesday.
McClain now is back in a situation he enjoyed a comeback year in, after spending the 2013 season out of football. That familiarity could have very well factored into his decision, as he should remain in the mix as Dallas’ middle linebacker, allowing the injured starter he replaced, Sean Lee, to slide over to the weak side.
In New England, McClain’s spot on the depth chart would have been far less certain in the long-term. Yet, on the other side, the Patriots’ off-line linebacker spots are also uncertain at this time.
Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon were taken consecutively in 2013. (NFL Game Rewind)
There may no longer be one dominant pipeline for Bill Belichick. But there are still several college streams running down into the Foxborough ravine.
The New England Patriots have collected players from an assortment of schools over the years, whether it be first-year pros or 10-year veterans, whether it be via free agency, trade, or the draft. And admittedly, the strength of some connections in the collection aren’t as strong as they once were.
Some of Belichick’s ties have dispersed in different directions, with the likes of Greg Schiano, Urban Meyer and Randy Edsall no longer at the forefront of the programs the Patriots head coach once picked from. Yet other waters have appeared over the years.
And with the Patriots’ pool currently standing 75 deep, here is a look through the most prominent products featured in its depths.
Stevie Johnson visited the Patriots to start free agency’s second week. (NFL Game Rewind)
The first wave of NFL free agency crashed down on the New England Patriots, seeing the likes of Shane Vereen, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner head into shore with the New York Giants, New York Jets and New Orleans Saints, respectively.
But now, a week out, it’s time to revisit where head coach Bill Belichick, director of player personnel Nick Caserio and the Patriots stand.
It’s time to see what’s been retained, added and subtracted from the roster. And also, what’s remaining heading into the second week.
Jonathan Freeny carved a spot on Miami’s special-teams units. (NFL Game Rewind)
The New England Patriots added a Rutgers product on Thursday.
According to the NFL transaction wire, the organization agreed to terms with free-agent linebacker Jonathan Freeny.
Freeny, 25, was a member of the Scarlet Knights football team for four seasons before going undrafted in 2011. He spent three alongside future Patriots safety Devin McCourty, as well as two alongside safety Duron Harmon, cornerback Logan Ryan and receiver Tim Wright.