The New England Patriots have areas to address after losing out on Darrelle Revis. But there are areas of the roster besides cornerback that remain unresolved.
The status of the defensive tackle position, potentially without 11-year pro Vince Wilfork, is one of them.
Wilfork announced in a letter last week that the team would decline his two-year option before the start of unrestricted free agency March 10. And while that seemed to mark the 33-year-old’s farewell from Foxborough at the time, it doesn’t seem that the door has closed just yet for the five-time Pro Bowler and seven-time captain.
The 6-foot-2, 325-pound nose is currently considering four teams, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media. One of them is the Houston Texans’ 3-4, under former Patriots coaches Bill O’Brien and Romeo Crennel. Another is the Patriots’ predominant 4-3, under current Patriots coaches Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia.
Wilfork has garnered three two-year, $10 million offers from three AFC teams, per the South Florida Sun-Sentinel‘s Omar Kelly. He is, however, taking his time.
And in the meantime, so are the Patriots.
The Providence Journal‘s Mark Daniels reports New England has shown interest in former Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley, who visited the Cincinnati Bengals Wednesday. And the National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson has indicated that former Denver Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, who most recently visited the Washington Redskins, has also drawn interest from New England.
Whether or not that interest matriculates into more is unclear. Yet it is clear that the Patriots’ options are open on the interior.
Fairley, 27, was the 13th overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft. The 6-foot-3, 308-pound Auburn Tiger went on to amass 11.5 sacks alongside Ndamukong Suh between 2012 and 2013, but was limited to eight games this past season due to an MCL sprain.
Knighton, 28, was a Jacksonville Jaguars third-round pick in the 2009 draft. The 6-foot-3, 331-pound Temple Owl has played in 96 career games since then, starting his last 32 with the Broncos to record five sacks and 61 tackles.
Those may not be the last names the Patriots are linked to. The likes of Red Bryant and Randy Starks are also new to the pool of free agents.
Though for now, New England is linked by contract to five defensive tackles for next season. The organization tendered exclusive-rights free agent Sealver Siliga on Tuesday.