No Surprise Banta-Cain Drawing Interest

Former Patriots LB drawing interest from other teams. What will the Patriots do now that he's gone?

Banta-Cain Drawing Interest From Seven Teams
Aaron Wilson,

Former New England Patriots outside linebacker Tully Banta-Cain remains on schedule in his recovery from abdominal surgery and has drawn interest from seven NFL teams, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation.

The teams are waiting for Banta-Cain to get back to full health following a procedure that doctors expected him to take four to five weeks to recover from.

"It won't keep him down or force him to miss the season or anything like that," the source said in a telephone interview. "The surgery was successful and everything should be fine."

Banta-Cain, Manning
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (18) escapes pressure by New England Patriots linebacker Tully Banta-Cain (95) during the first half at Gillette Stadium 11/21/2010 ( Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE)
Banta-Cain, 30, recorded 45 tackles, five sacks and one fumble recovery last season.

For his career, the ninth-year pro from Cal-Berkeley has 250 tackles, 27 1/2 sacks, one interception and four forced fumbles.

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Patriots Insider Take: Jon Scott @JScottNFL
At first glance, letting Banta-Cain (TBC) go may not have been a wise decision given the issues the Patriots have had at the outside linebacker position in recent years.   His 14.5 sacks in 2009-10 led the team over that period, though his production trailed off last year while he battled injuries. TBC's contributions gave a unit with a woeful pass rush some bite.

The concern over TBC's recovery period was an understandable reason for the team to let him go early. After all, he needed at least 4-6 weeks to rehab the injury after surgery, and like all surgeries, there was no guarantee he would return 100%.  Should Banta-Cain prove to be healthy soon, he'll undoubtedly be in demand as noted by colleague Aaron Wilson's report.  The NFL needs pass rushers, and for New England that will come from Mark Anderson, Andre Carter, Jermaine Cunningham and Rob Ninkovich for now.

With final roster cuts out of the way, New England's defensive front seven has come into clearer focus.  Shaun Ellis, Vince Wilfork, Albert Haynesworth and Carter should be the starting lineup with Ninkovich and Jerod Mayo as the outside backers.

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