Free agent analysis: Spikes, Pats likely through

Free agent analysis: Spikes, Pats likely through
February 5, 2014, 1:45 pm
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This week, Tom E. Curran continues his examination of the Patriots’ potential free agents. Today: Brandon Spikes. Coming soon: Dane Fletcher.

Brandon Spikes will be a free agent in a month. We’ve probably seen the last of him in a Patriots uniform.
Even though he’s one of the league’s better run-stopping linebackers, the buttoned-down atmosphere in New England hasn’t really suited Spikes’ style.
That doesn’t make him a bad person and it’s not an indictment of the Patriots way of running their team. It’s just the way it is.
Spikes 2013 season was a pretty good microcosm of the disconnect. When offseason workouts rolled around last spring, every Patriot made an appearance except Spikes.
Asked in June why he decided to skip the voluntary workouts, Spikes said, “I just feel like I was trying to put myself in the best position to compete for a spot on the team, and also help this team win a championship,” the 25-year-old explained. “You guys know me -- I do things a little different from everybody else. I don’t think that’s bad or a shocker. Honestly, if everybody in this world was a [conformist], it would be one boring place.”

Spikes’ time away from the team didn’t earn him more time, though. He was off the field in passing situations most of the time, though in games when the Patriots needed to be stiff against the run, Spikes was on the field and a force.
A knee injury limited him through the middle part of the season but he stoically played through it. Until January. That’s when the non-conformist Spikes didn’t show up at the Patriots facility on the Friday prior to the playoff bye. The Patriots put Spikes and his bad knee on IR and rookie Jamie Collins teamed with Dont'a Hightower to have a strong end to the season.
Next season, with Jerod Mayo back in the mix, the Patriots are well-positioned with their linebackers. And Spikes -- drafted in the second round out of Florida in 2010 -- will be in the market for a team that will let him be more himself.
Don’t be surprised if that winds up being Buffalo. Spikes and Pepper Johnson were close and with former Lions head coach Jim Schwartz in charge of the defense, Spikes could definitely be a free agent target for them.
If that happens, being a pain in the Patriots posterior will be part of his official job description. Finally.