Kyle Arrington sits atop a now-cloudy Patriots cornerback position. (NFL Game Rewind)
It was Herman Edwards who once said “a goal without a plan is a wish.”
There is reason to believe a goal is in mind for the New England Patriots after one week of moves. With Darrelle Revis a New York Jet, Brandon Browner a New Orleans Saint, Shane Vereen a New York Giant, and Vince Wilfork a Houston Texan, there’s also reason to believe there is a plan.
But exactly what that plan entails hasn’t been shared by head coach Bill Belichick. And when it is, it won’t be with words.
Time will tell how the organization will address the key positional needs on the roster. It could be told in the coming weeks, in a trade, in the draft, or in the season opener next September. But right now, however it may ultimately be addressed, New England is heading into the second week of the free-agent process with newfound vacancies.
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.
Halfback Shane Vereen has agreed to terms with the Giants. (NFL Game Rewind)
Shane Vereen appears to have played his final game as a New England Patriot.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the unrestricted free-agent halfback is expected to sign with the New York Giants when the new league year begins at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Vereen, 26, was selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft. And over the Cal Bear’s four seasons with the team since then, he’s tallied 907 yards on 217 carries, 1,023 yards on 159 catches and 14 total touchdowns.
Shane Vereen will become an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday. (NFL Game Rewind)
The gates opened at noon on Saturday.
It was then that the legal tampering period began for NFL teams, three days before unrestricted free agents can begin visiting organizations and signing contracts at 4 p.m. on March 10.
For the New England Patriots, it means contact with unrestricted free agents other than their own can begin. But it also means the likes of free safety Devin McCourty, running back Shane Vereen and their representatives can begin fielding phone calls from other interested teams.
Released Wednesday, Reggie Bush should draw free-agent discussion. (NFL Game Rewind)
The market for the 29-year-old running back, and the potential interest of the New England Patriots, came to the forefront when the Detroit Lions announced the release of Reggie Bush on Wednesday evening.
Bush’s availability comes less than two weeks before New England’s backfield is slated two have two names, Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley, available on the unrestricted free-agent market. And, should discussions with the latter two not end in an agreement, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft could be a candidate to reach one.
Shane Vereen is scheduled for unrestricted free agency this March. (NFL Game Rewind)
New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen appears set to test the waters.
According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent is hoping to secure a contract worth at least $5 million per season, after the two sides were unable to reach a preliminary agreement on proposals last summer.
Whether or not the 25-year-old’s camp will receive an offer of that stature moving forward remains to be seen, but it is a starting point. And it’s a starting point a team in need of a receiving back may be willing to match as the window opens March 10.
James White appeared in three games as a rookie in 2013. (NFL Game Rewind)
In a sense, James White’s rookie season was much like Shane Vereen’s.
The New England Patriots fourth-round pick out of Wisconsin played in three games. He handled nine carries for 38 yards and five receptions for 23 yards. He served as a redshirt, rounding out the running back position behind the likes of Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount, Jonas Gray, Brandon Bolden and Vereen.
Opportunities to serve as more were seldom seen.
White’s final snaps of the campaign came with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback versus the Buffalo Bills in the regular-season finale. And when New England’s two-minute drill fell short, so did his 2014 campaign.
It was over then, even though New England’s was far from it. Yet it was a similar case for a certain Patriots second-round pick out of California back in 2011.
Shane Vereen saw the Seahawks travel 79 yards late in the fourth. (NFL Game Rewind)
Shane Vereen looked on as Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch got down to the goal line with a minute left in Super Bowl XLIX.
Eight days later, the New England Patriots running back joined NFL Network’s NFL AM to discuss what that moment felt like, seeing the Patriots’ 10-play, 64-yard drive answered by the Seahawks’ sudden six-play, 79-yard drive.
“The most sickening feeling you could probably have,” Vereen laughed. “Because we just marched down and scored and we’re up by four. And they just had an amazing catch by [Jermaine] Kearse and you figure Marshawn is just gonna punch it in.”
The focus of New England’s backfield has shifted. (NFL Game Rewind)
The New England Patriots have 60 players under contract for the 2015 season.
Among them are the likes of Vince Wilfork and Darrelle Revis, who will have options the organization will have to pick up or renegotiate. Not among them are the likes of Devin McCourty and Stephen Gostkowski, who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents.
But the dust has yet to settle on those decisions.
Safety Devin McCourty is set to become an unrestricted free agent. (NFL Game Rewind)
On the heels of Wednesday’s Super Bowl victory rally, the New England Patriots are rolling onward. And there are several dates on the horizon for both the organization and its players to roll into.
By Feb. 16, NFL teams will be able to apply franchise and transitions tags on players set to hit free agency. By March 10, after a three-day negotiation period, teams will be facing a final deadline for exercising 2015 options and offers for exclusive-rights free agents. And by 4 p.m. that same day, the 2015 league year will turn over a new leaf into unrestricted free agency.
What head coach Bill Belichick and director of player personnel Nick Caserio will elect to do between now and then remains to be seen. But what has been seen is New England’s list of upcoming free agents.