If last year is any indication, then don’t expect much of anything at all to happen between now and March 12.
As a point of reference, last year the Pats did the following prior to the start of the new NFL year, and free agency:
- Signed seven players to future/reserve contracts (Markell Carter, Matt Kopa, Aaron Lavarias, Mike Rivera, Tiquan Underwood, Ross Ventrone).
- DL Armond Armstead and Jason Vega are technically future/reserve contract signings as well, making this year’s total nine (Armstead, Vega, James Develin, WR Jeremy Ebert, LB Jeff Tarpinian, WR Andre Holmes, DE Tracy Robertson, QB Mike Kafka, DE Marcus Bennard).
- Last year the Pats also signed RB Eric Kettani in February, prior to free agency.
- This year the Pats also have one other early signing: LB Dane Fletcher.
- Last year the Pats made two other roster moves prior to the start of the new NFL year, releasing OL Rich Ohrnberger and DL Mike Wright.
Compare that to what happened in the days following the start of the new NFL year:
- Between the start of free agency and the draft the Pats re-signed six of their own free agents: Niko Koutouvides, Matthew Slater, Tracy White, Dan Connolly, Deion Branch, and Dan Koppen.
- Between the start of free agency and the draft two players signed their tenders: RFA Brian Hoyer and ERFA Kyle Love.
- Between the start of free agency and the draft the Pats signed 15 players who were not on the club the previous year: DL Jonathan Fanene, DL Marcus Harrison, S Steve Gregory, WR Anthony Gonzalez, DL Trevor Scott, WR Brandon Lloyd, TE Daniel Fells, WR Donte’ Stallworth, OL Robert Gallery, CB Marquice Cole, CB Will Allen, FB Spencer Larsen, FB Tony Fiammetta, LB Bobby Carpenter, and K Chris Koepplin.
- Between the start of free agncy and the draft the Pats released two players: LB Christian Cox and FB Lousaka Polite.
- Between the start of free agency and the draft two players restructure their contracts with the Pats: Tom Brady and Chad Johnson.
- Between the start of free agency and the draft four players that had been with the Pats the previous season sign elsewhere: Mark Anderson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Antwaun Molden, and Gary Guyton.
- Between the start of free agency and the draft one player is placed on the reserve/retired list: Matt Light.
Right now there is very little incentive for players to sign with a team, or for teams to sign any of the very few players that are available. Once the new league year begins there will be more players cut, increasing the pool of talent available. For right now all we can do is speculate, and count down the days until free agency commences.
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