Patriots Free Agent Primer: Secondary

Patriots Free Agent Primer: Secondary
May 25, 2011, 4:16 pm
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By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.comThis is thelast in a series of looks at the Patriots' position-by-position needs after the draft, and who's available to fill them via free agency . . . whenever free agency might come. Today's position:Secondary.Who's here?
Corners: Devin McCourty, Leigh Bodden, Kyle Arrington, Darius Butler, Ras-I Dowling, Tony Carter, Thad Turner, Jonathan Wilhite. Safeties: Patrick Chung, James Sanders, Brandon Meriweather, Bret Lockett, Ross Ventrone, Jarrad Page, Malcolm Williams, Sergio Brown. Who's out there?
Corners: Nnamdi Asomugha (Raiders), Jonathan Joseph (Bengals), Chris Carr (Ravens), Ike Taylor (Steelers), Antonio Cromartie (Jets), Josh Wilson (Ravens). Safeties: Eric Weddle (Chargers), Dawan Landry (Ravens), Quintin Mikell (Eagles), Michael Huff (Raiders), Donte Whitner (Bills), Darren Sharper (Saints). What's the need?
From 1-10? Let's call it a 2.The Patriots have three corners who have established they canplay the position well in the NFL:McCourty, Bodden and Arrington. Butler and Wilhite have shown flashes of competence and incompetence.Dowling, one presumes, should be good, but we presumed the same about Butler, Wilhite and Terrence Wheatley. It's a tough spot to predict. Still, you have to like the way the Patriots are stocked and the demand for a free agent pickup here is minimal. At safety, I'm going to be fascinated to see what the team does after this season with Brandon Meriweather, whose contract expires. Chung was clearly their best safety in 2010. Sanders was very consistent. Page had his moments. But despite the spotlighted ineffective andor stupid plays, Meriweather brought more aggressiveness and attitude to the position than he had in any previous season. 2010 was his best season. He may be a good player still. This is a very big season for him. That said, the Patriots need for anything more than roster-filler is minimal.
Who do they chase?
Whether it be at corner or safety, the only free agents I could see the Patriots chasing would be Jarrad Page-type players. Experienced, looking to get into a better situation than the one they're coming from or wanting to chase a ring. Darren Sharper, for instance.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran